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Part 1: What Does Your Kid Know About Social Media?

Is your kid eager to get on social media, but you're not sure if they're ready? Our Getting Started with Social Media series will give you the knowledge you need to prepare your kid for an informed debut in the social media world. In this first part, you'll discover what your kid knows and wants to do on popular platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and others.

Stefanie Parth
4/19/2024 • 4 min
Teenager sits on her bed and is filming a video for social media on her phone

Is your kid ready to explore the world of social media? Before you give them the green light, it's important to understand their knowledge and intentions. In this first post in our series, we'll show you how to assess your kid's social media know-how and where you might need to do a little sharpening. We'll equip you with the right questions to help your kid navigate the digital world wisely and responsibly.

Understanding the Social Media Landscape

New social media platforms are popping up all the time, each with its own set of rules and features. Here's a brief overview of the most popular ones:

  • Instagram is primarily used for sharing photos and videos. Users can also post stories that disappear after 24 hours.
  • TikTok offers a stage for short video clips, often set to music, that can quickly go viral.
  • Snapchat focuses on sending images and videos that disappear shortly after being viewed, commonly used for spontaneous and private communication among friends.
  • YouTube serves as a platform for video content of all kinds, from educational resources to entertainment.
  • Facebook has a wide range of features, from status updates to groups and marketplaces, connecting users worldwide.
  • BeReal challenges users to share an unfiltered photo once a day to promote a seemingly more authentic form of social media.
  • Pinterest acts like a virtual pinboard where users can collect and share images and ideas on various topics.
  • Discord is a popular gathering place for communities, usually centered around gaming or specific interests.
  • Twitch is best known for live streaming video games, but is increasingly being used for other types of live events.
  • X (formerly Twitter) allows users to post short messages and participate in global discussions.

These platforms not only offer different content and communication styles, but also different opportunities and risks. It's important for your kid to understand, and for you as a parent to monitor, how your kid chooses to use a platform.

What Role Does Your Kid Want to Play in the Digital World?

It's important to know what your kid wants to do on social media. Do they want to actively post content or passively consume it? Understanding this can help you tailor rules and engagement accordingly. Active users who create content face different risks than those who just consume, such as potential online harassment or negative comments, while passive users may struggle with information overload and targeted advertising.

Here are some questions that can help you uncover more about your kid's intentions and understanding:

Which platforms are you familiar with and which ones do you want to use?
This question reveals how well your kid knows social media and which platforms they find appealing. Knowing which platforms your kid wants to use helps you research and adjust specific safety settings.

What excites you about these platforms?
This question will help you understand what draws your kid to social media. Whether it's a chance to be creative, a desire for social recognition, or just curiosity and entertainment, knowing these motivations can help guide discussions about healthy use.

Who in your circle of friends is active, and what are they doing there?
Peer pressure to join social media is often strong among kids; many want to be part of it because "everyone is doing it. If friends post certain content or use certain platforms, it can have a significant impact on what your kid wants to do online. This question also shows who your kid interacts with and what kind of content they might share or consume.

Are there any particular people or channels you want to follow?
Understanding who your kid wants to follow online can provide insight into their interests and potentially expose them to risks. Celebrities and influencers have a significant impact on young people, so it's good to know which messages and values are being promoted.

How much time do you think you would spend daily on these platforms?
Excessive use can lead to sleep deprivation, stress, and other health problems. This question allows you to set realistic limits before your kid even starts using a platform.


By asking the right questions, you can help your kid build a positive and safe online presence. This initial discussion lays the groundwork for mindful engagement with social media.

In the next part of our series, "Is Your Kid Ready for Social Media?" you'll learn how to assess your kid's emotional and cognitive maturity to ensure they are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that social media brings.