Guest Blog: Families That Tweet Together, Stay Together

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Are you a family that tweets together?

In our latest guest blog, Internet safety expert Russ Warner, CEO of ContentWatch, makers of parental control software Net Nanny, talks about the benefits of keeping on top of your kids’ social media patterns.

Continue reading Russ’ tips below, and discover how social media can actually strengthen your relationship with your teen.

Families That Tweet Together, Stay Together

Have you ever tried to wade through all your child’s tweets, posts, and “likes” to connect with her? It can be a daunting task.

According to new research, teens and parents who connect on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feel more closely linked in their real-life relationships. The results, documented in the journal Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, show that teens interacting with their parents on social networks are typically more kind and helpful. This activity increases positivity in the relationship and decreases the likelihood of teenage depression.

The research suggests that teens don’t have to feel “uncool” that their mom and dad have “followed” or “friended” them, but that their parents want to stay up-to-date with their lives. That might make mom and dad seem “hip” because they keep up with tech.

Researchers examined and interviewed 491 families from Seattle, for seven years. Only about half the families were connected through social media.

Sarah Coyne, lead researcher, says this should be an eye-opener for teens. “I would hope kids would let their parents ‘friend’ them. It’s going to strengthen the relationship,” said Coyne.

This should also be an eye-opener for parents. Getting involved with social networks gives them the opportunity to interact with kids on multiple levels. Social networks can also help parents see and understand what is important to their child. It also allows a parent to not only interact with a teen though an additional medium, but also monitor that teen’s interaction with others.

Being a “friend” to your child enables you to view posts, photos, and conversations involving your child and to make sure they’re protected from possible online harm. This interaction can potentially save a teen from a bad experience.

There are software tools on the market, such as Social Guard, Social Shield, and Net Nanny Social that help parents monitor kids on social networks. These tools allow parents to more easily supervise kids on social networks. More importantly, they can keep a parent aware of potentially dangerous interactions, such as cyberbullying.

In today’s digital world, to be involved in your child’s life now includes being involved in their online life. Tweet, post, and like your way to a better, more positive relationship.

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Russ Warner is CEO of ContentWatch, makers of the top-rated parental control software, Net Nanny. He is used as an expert source in local and national press and speaks and blogs regularly on the topic of Internet Safety. Warner has been quoted in or written for articles found on CNN, The NY Post, Forbes, HLNtv, and is a columnist on Huffington Post. He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. ContentWatch is actively involved in Internet safety campaigns for the local media and a national audience of customers. (The opinions expressed in this article are his own.)

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