Social media and cell phones allow teens to connect with one another in a different way and more frequently. Like adults, it allows them to stay in touch with friends. Unfortunately, when it comes to teenage relationships, social media can complicate things.
Again, it’s important to have conversations with your teens about their relationships, and how they interact with their friends and partners using their phones and social media. This is also a good topic for setting boundaries.
As teens are getting to know themselves, each other and their phone capabilities, sometimes their behaviors on the phone can cross the line. Here are some things you can talk with your teen about and to be on the lookout for as well:
Talking to Someone They Don’t Know or Haven’t Met
With social media, it is too easy to meet new people. Especially as teens are looking to fit in, they may turn to social media and the internet for friend groups and spaces where they feel they can be themselves. Teens can feel connected to others, even if relationships are entirely virtual. This can become dangerous if they share personal information or photos, or try to meet up with that person without anyone’s knowledge.
Keep conversations open with your teen about who they are talking to. If a name sounds unfamiliar, ask how your teen knows that person. Share with your teen the dangers of talking with someone they don’t know. If you find they have been talking to a stranger, try not to lash out. That will make your teen more defensive and want to hide their behaviors from you. Rather, share with them your feelings and concerns.
Controlling Behaviors by a Friend or Partner
These can include:
- Demanding their passwords or pressuring them to exchange passwords as a way to prove there are faithful
- Posting things to their social media profiles without permission
- Reading or accessing their social media accounts without permission
- Constantly texting or calling, and becoming angry if there is no response. Similarly, your teen being afraid of what might happen if they do not answer the call or text
Talking Points & Tips
The following questions are meant to get your teen thinking about the pros and cons of social media in relationships:
- Are any of your friends in relationships? Do you think their relationship is healthy?
- How do your friends communicate with their partners using phones or social media?
- What do you think are some examples of unhealthy behaviors on the phone or social media when two people are dating?