Note From Keri Lyn ~ I just wanted to mention how thrilled I am to have Eileen guest posting this series on the blog! Eileen has been a dear friend for several years. She is an amazing mom and honestly THE very funnest person to visit Disneyland with. I love her passion for protecting our kids and families in social media and I am SO thrilled to have her sharing her expertise here weekly with all of us!
This post is the second one in this series. Make sure to read Eileen’s first post Smart Parenting: How to Talk to Your Kids About Social Media.
With that, I introduce to you my friend Eileen:
Hi there! My name is Eileen Calandro and I’m thrilled to create content for She Saved readers once a week. (Thank you, Keri Lyn!) I’ve been teaching classes about parenting kids on social media for years and also enjoy doing assemblies about being good digital citizens for elementary school kids. I used to teach first grade before I had my three sons (it’s not just a television show from the 60’s) and recently worked in social media as a community manager for six years. Now I’ve combined my love of teaching and social media into creating my classes and assemblies.
I write like I talk -and I talk a lot! (I listen, too. Life’s all about balance, right?) I hope this weekly conversation offers you helpful information about parenting your digital citizen and ways to connect with your kids about social media.
Smart Parenting: Questions to Help Start Conversations About Social Media with Your Kids
I love having conversations with my sons while we drive around in the car. The drive to my middle son’s water polo practices present a just-right time to strike up a discussion. Wouldn’t it be great if I could tell you I create spontaneous, deep talks about important topics like social media as I get him to and from practices several times a week? I think it would be.
But then there’s real life and conversations I try having with my middle son about social media sometimes go something like this:
*he sits on the fourth stair in our house and scrutinizes the ceiling*
Me (talking to myself in my head) ‘I just taught a class last night about the importance of talking with kids about social media. This would be a perfect time to have a conversation like that! Yes! So ask him a question, Eileen. Go ahead. Start a conversation.’
*silence as my son keeps looking up*
Me (to myself): ‘What should I ask him? Where do I start? What’s the best way to do this? And what the heck is he looking at?!?!’
My son got up from the stairs since the ceiling proved less interesting than it seemed about four minutes ago. “I’m going to see if Kevin wants to go hang out. Is that okay?”
Me: “Sure. Be home by 5:00 to start your homework.”
*he walks out the front door*
I missed the opportunity to talk with my son because I didn’t know where to start. And I teach things like having conversations with your kids about social media for a living!
Maybe I over-analyzed what to talk about. Maybe I saw too many options and didn’t grasp the first one that popped into my mind. No matter what kept me from actually talking out loud, I realized saying something in a classroom and actually DOING something with my own family needs help and guidance sometimes.
As my son hung out at our neighbor Kevin’s house, I headed straight to my computer and created this Top Ten List of questions to help parents create conversations with their kids around the subject of social media. I hope you find these useful for your family:
- What do you think are the three (two?) best social media platforms? Why?
- What would you do if a conversation got ugly on social media?
- Do you think a social media account should be private? Why or why not?
- Have you ever seen anyone get cyberbullied? What did you do? What did others do?
- How many of your friends are on social media? What are the popular platforms you use?
- What do you know about a digital footprint?
- You know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers in real life. What about strangers online?
- What rules have you made for yourself about how to behave online? Do you follow them?!?
- What would you change about social media if you could?
- What makes you laugh when you’re on social media (except cat videos, of course!)?
I shared the story of the attempted conversation with my Social Media for Parents class the following week and also shared the questions above that got created thanks to my missed opportunity with my son.
Since then, I’ve used these questions several times (as well as other questions) to talk with my family and the friends of my sons about social media. Now when I drive carpool to and from water polo practice (and when my son enjoys ceiling gazing, too) I learn a lot about what’s going on in the world of social media. You can bet I use these discussions as a spring-board to share what I know and to learn along the way! Because we’re all in this parenting arena together and it’s been proven talking with your kids about social media is one of the best ways you can prevent some of the horrible things from happening to them in that space.
Keep talking with your kids and keep being terrific, connected parents. I’ll see you next week! Thanks for this opportunity, Keri Lyn. 😀
Connect with Eileen
If you are looking to learn more about and to stay up to date on the latest social media happenings and trends, especially where kids are concerned, then I highly encourage you to follow Eileen in social media!