After months of ing, took the plunge, and r kid has a phone. Inevably, after the smtphone comes (insert pental scream). For most , feels scy when they think about their ing . Why is such a potential p of despr for ?

, we k from our own that the eperience isn’t always . How e supd to deal wh insensive posts, sketchy people, problems, and even FOMO — when supdly mature grown-ups can’t even be trted to behave ropriately? And, though most has a mini of 13, a lot of stt ing for before they’re nicy owed to join.
Of course we’re worried. But the truth is, lots of teens e and stay , y, and connected — especiy when e supportive. And we set our teens up for success, keep lines of open, and stay awe of our teen’s , any trouble they run into likely be speed bumps instead of roadblocks.
    So, how do we do that? Talking — and ening — is key. , can be hd to get to open up, but ’s possible to get information about what they want to e, why they want to e , and how much they k about potential risks whout seeming intrive. And ’s , too, not jt for their lives but for the future. The runs on . And need to len how to e ly, responsibly, and respectfully. Today might be Snapchat, but tomorrow they be ing for a job on LinkedIn or shing a professional portfolio on their webse.
    e some for how to kick off; ’s best to find some down when ’re not pulling r kid away from something they . need buy-in, frame like a driving test: They need to k the rules of the road before they can get in the c. They might k much than think, so make sure to let them show their epertise when possible. can through the script as-is or e as a jumping-off point — whatever s!
    r teen: What (s) do want to e and why?
    Best answers:
    Follow-up: Is anything in that that isn’t awesome? Anything think I’d be worried about?
    Best answers:
    • Yeah, has some bad stuff in . People post weird and can be mean, but I don’t want to e for that. I jt want to have fun wh my friends.
    • Well, I guess so. Probably like cyberbullying and strangers and stuff. But I k how to e the settings, so I’m not worried. I’ll show
    • Probably, but I promise to tell something bad is hening or I see something that’s upsetting.
    When teens e saying they want to e to stay connected to friends, that’s a od sign. their answer is a the lines of trying to get famo or “ off” in some way, ’s problematic — and could to risky behavior in their rch for fame. Also, matters which r kid wants to e, since each one comes wh s own sets of features and chenges. Kik Messenger and Men, for eample, come wh potential risks than say, Twter and , which e aorhms to filter out abive comments.
    r teen: What kinds of don’t be on ?
    Best answers:
    • I’m in a fight wh someone, ’s not ing to get solved over tet or — we jt need to uy talk.
    • People rey shouldn’t post or she y stuff becae can end up over the place, and that would be super embrassing. Also posting private information, like my phone number, would be stupid.
    • Somes people say rey cruel , even about or being gay. I think can feel too easy, and people dumb when they don’t have to someone in the e.
    Follow-up: What r friend posts a y picture or video? Would be hd to not do , too? she t posive comments, how would that feel?
    Best answers:
    • Some of my friends do post stuff like that, and I feel kind of embrassed for them. I’ve even told them to take stuff down. But doesn’t make me want to do becae I don’t want to inve people to comment on my body.
    • I guess would be weird to see that, and I might feel like I have to like the post so she doesn’t feel bad, but wh of the filters and selfie-improvement like Facetune, ’s not real anyway.
    • I might be a ltle jealo she t lots of nice comments, but I’d rather get nice comments for other , like winning a or wring a cool story.
    Follow-up: So, in general, what do think e od to keep in before post something?
    Best answers:
    • Mostly that everything is permanent and could be shed, so I should rey think about how I would feel something I was private went and then decide to post or not.
    • something I post would make someone mad or upset, then I shouldn’t do . That’s why I’d always my friends before I post pictures of them anyw.
    • I might forget somes, but I think to my future self would want a college admissions person or Grandma or even to see something dumb I posted whout . Even jt wting a few seconds to think would probably .
    Takeaways: ’s od for teens to think about why they want to post something, who they’re posting for, and what epectations they might have about the reions they’ll get. ’s normal for teens to seek out attention and eplore their ualy, but doing on is risky. about consequences isn’t a teen’s strongest skill becae of b development, but they can pae for a few seconds to think about why they’re posting something and what the imp might be, might prevent problems. They’ll still make mistakes, but a ltle fulness es a way.
    r teen: Do k what to do someone is mean, hasses for pictures, stalks , or does anything else that feels sketchy?
    Best answers:
    • Some of is not posting sketchy or mean stuff rself, but also s to k how to e the settings and how to report and block people.
    • I wouldn’t respond to that person becae I’ve seen people get into flame ws and rey get crazy and I don’t want of that drama!
    • I’d block and report that person and tell about , especiy the person won’t stop.
    Follow-up: Can walk me through the way r favore s and what the settings e?
    Best answers:
    • Sure. The biggest thing wh Snapchat is keeping this setting to “Friends” so random people can’t cont me. I’d also make sure to e Ghost Mode on this map …
    • I’d stt wh a private account on , but the default is , so ’s w change . And then someone is mean, ’s how to block them …
    • I rey want a account, but probably won’t let me, so ’s w make an account private …
    Takeaways: and r teen need to understand the they’re ing in terms of who can see their posts, who can friend/cont them, and how to e the settings to be as as possible. This is a od to download their favore , have r kid walk through how to e , and take a at the settings together.
    r teen: What might bum out about , and what can do about ?
    Best answers:
    • I think would make me sad I saw pictures of a pty I wasn’t inved to, but I guess I would jt talk to that person face-to-face about how I felt. ​​​​​​​
    • Somes people like they’re always having the best and always hy, and I’m not feeling like that, ’s kind of depressing. I’d try to remember that what people post on isn’t what their whole is like, and I could jt do something else that makes me feel od about myself.
    • ​​​​​​​I think I posted something and no one liked , I’d be bummed. I think would to talk to hened a lot and also to remember that my posts on en’t the whole me — not getting likes doesn’t mean people don’t like me.
    Follow-up: What do think we should do one or both of notice that being on is stting to make anio or depressed, or take up too much ?
    Best answers:
    • Since don’t let me e my phone at dinner or at bed, I don’t think I’d be ing too much, but I guess I could take a break from stopped being fun.
    • I have some friends who e about their Snapstreaks, so I could see how that might feel to me, but stted to feel like pressure, I guess I’d talk to my friend so we could agree together to take a break.
    • ​​​​​​​I k somes I get mad when try to talk to me about stuff, so I don’t think would threaten to take my phone away or anything. But notice I’m depressed and I don’t see , be can jt tell me gently and we can do something fun together to take a break and then talk.
    Follow-up: What should our lims be ound how much and how often ’re ing ?
    Best answers:
    • I guess we can jt add to our Agreement so I won’t e during class, dinner, or when I to bed. And I’m toty obsessed and not paying attention to anything else, I’d want to tell me.
    • my grades down or I stop doing other ivies, then I think that’s a problem.
    • ​​​​​​​ k how somes I’m trying to talk to while ’re on and ’re not rey ening? Let’s agree that we both won’t do that.
    Takeaways: ’s ful to set epectations before downloading the and turning r kid loose. When is to stop? e and s when the phone is off-lims? What e the consequences when r kid doesn’t abide by the epectations? Setting these up together gets buy-in and less guing when they make inevable mistakes. ’s also to talk about the up and downs of and how somes can make people feel pressu or less-than. How much a person es seems to be a or when comes to how someone feels, so discsing that up front sets the for future and when r teen isn’t having fun any. , being a od role is key, especiy becae r teen won’t en to en’t the walk. ’re struggling wh r own e of , be open about and as a to find balance.
    r teen: The deal is that ing to do random spot-checks of r phone, and I’ll need r ernames and pass. My al is not to spy on or keep track of everything do — jt to stay involved. Think can handle that?
    Best answers:
    • That seems fr. I k ’re paying for the phone, so I get that should be able to have access. Also, I’ve had friends who wanted their wh stuff on but didn’t k how to , so ’s probably od k what’s ing on.
    • I mean, I need some , but I get that ’re not ing to read every single tet I send. be we can agree that ’ll only s me down to talk to me about rey bad stuff and not, like, sweing or gross s.
    • ​​​​​​​I don’t like , but that’s what takes, that’s fine. ’ll probably me stop and think about what I’m posting I k that might see .

    See the latest s and she r comments wh on Facebook and Twitter.

    Takeaways: ’s some evidence that trying to track everything r kid does backfires: create accounts and stop talking openly about what’s hening becae they feel spied on. To avoid this, ’s to frame r checks as a form of ting wheels; ’re doing to support them, not c them out. Of course, they break a rule ’ve set, consequences e ropriate, but in general, s best to e each mistake as a teachable moment. Remember, too, that somes do have multiple accounts (especiy on ) and that ’s not always a feed to check (like on Snapchat), so sting down and ing to see what’s hening — instead of checking solo — might also open up some .
    r teen: please she some fun stuff wh me so I don’t feel so old and we can have fun together?
    Best answers:
    • !
    • Sure!
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Toty!
    Takeaways: Many of these have cool features can she and conversation-spking that offers something that’s not always easy to find: connection wh r teen. Meet them w they e, have oning , stay involved, and have fun when possible!

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