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Your kids are growing up in a vastly different world from the one you grew up in. They’re on social media 24/7, and they have access to anything they could ever want to know at their fingertips. Yet what they aren’t aware of is the negative impact this age of social media has on them.

Each time your child posts a caption, tags a location, or sees a photo on their feed, it puts them in a vulnerable place – not just physically but emotionally. And when they begin to struggle with their self-esteem, personal development, and happiness, it’s disheartening. You remember what it was like to be in their shoes, only, these days, being “social” usually means the opposite: isolation.

It’s your job to protect your child or teen and help them overcome the struggles they face due to social media. But you might still be trying to understand the depths of this world they always seem so lost in too. That is to say, parenting in the age of social media is tough for several reasons. However, these tips are a great place to start.

1) Give your child an internet curfew: set specific times during which they can’t be online. This will ensure that they aren’t spending too much time staring into a screen and allow them some downtime to relax and enjoy other activities outside of social media.

Encourage them to take breaks to experience how refreshing it is not always to be completely engulfed in online negativity.

2) Establish clear rules for using social media: the clearer, the better. If your child or teen understands that there are consequences to posting inappropriate photos, for example, they are more likely to behave accordingly.

3) Discuss the dangers of social media: your child or teen must know how social media can negatively impact them. From cyberbullying and sexting to online predators and sharing too much information, many negative things can come from freely using these platforms. You might not want to scare them into avoiding social media at all costs, but they must be aware of potential consequences.

4) Talk to them about how social media can affect their self-esteem: one of the most impactful things you can do is ensure your child or teen knows how they are feeling and why. This becomes confusing and challenging when they’re exposed to many people presenting an image that’s far from reality.

Your child or teen also doesn’t see that many others are struggling with similar issues because, instead of showing it, they put up a front on social media.

Youth are especially susceptible to social media pressures because their self-esteem is fragile in their early years. And while some can rise above it, others don’t have the same capabilities for coping.

5) Monitor their social media: remain vigilant to protect your child or teen. Ensure that you’re up-to-date on what they’re posting and who they’re interacting with online.

6) Seek help if you need to: even the most well-versed parents can’t prevent their kids from having problems with social media. After all, when they’re engaged in social media, it’s like they’re living a different world, separate from you. If your child is struggling or you think they might have an addiction to social media, it’s time to seek help.

Seeking professional intervention can help them stop withdrawing from the real world and start withdrawing from their digital one.

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