When is the Right Time to Let Your Kids on Social Media?

Today, many parents feel confused about ensuring their children don’t spend too much time on social media. Parents of young children might be wondering when they should allow their kids to start using social media. Parents of teenagers may be worried about whether or not their child is spending too much time on apps like Instagram or TikTok.

Making decisions regarding your child’s social media usage is not always easy. This is especially true when it seems like all of their friends are on these apps. However, with some careful thought, you can set limits around social media usage that make sense for your child, depending on their age. Here are a few guidelines to consider.

Supervised Usage

If your child is under the age of 13, it’s best if they do not use social media unsupervised. Yes, they might be exposed to these apps if they borrow a friend’s phone or spend the night at a sleepover. Very young children should not be using social media at all. At times, you might want to show them photos posted by friends or family on your accounts. But overall, it’s best to strictly limit any social media usage until your child is in middle school. This isn’t always easy, especially with widespread smartphone usage among children today. But it’s a recommendation that you can aim for.

Individual Accounts

Once your child is around the age of 13, you might feel that they’re responsible enough to have their own social media accounts. You can talk to your child about which platforms they’re allowed to use. Furthermore, you can go over the privacy settings with them. You might want to have your child set up a private account but allow you to follow them so that you can see what they post. You may be able to set time limits on certain apps as well.

Setting Reasonable Limits

Even when your child is allowed to have their own social media accounts, you can establish certain limits around their usage. For instance, have you always had a rule about keeping smartphones away from the dinner table? It certainly doesn’t have to change now! You might also want to designate other “phone-free zones” in your house. Think about which guidelines will work best for your family’s needs.

Establishing Standards

Is your child still spending time with friends, keeping up with their grades, and participating in extracurriculars? Then you probably don’t have much reason to be concerned with their social media usage. But it’s a good idea to pay attention to any potential indicators that social media might be having a negative effect on your child’s mental health, social life, or academic performance. For instance, if your child’s grades start slipping after they set up their social media accounts, you may need to set stricter limits or prevent them from using social media for a while.

Free Access

When should your child have free, unfettered access to social media? When your child enters high school, they’ll have enough independence that you may not be able to set strict limits on their usage. Even if your child is able to use social media as they choose, you can still talk to them about how to use these apps responsibly. Plus, you might want to talk to them about why certain social media trends can be harmful. You can also go over how social media could affect their mental health.

Are you concerned that your child is spending too much time on social media? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for parenting therapy.