Parents should do their best to be aware of their teenager or child’s activity on social media. Following your kid’s accounts can be a great way to accomplish this and is something we recommend in our workshops and meetings with parents. The problem is that our more sneaky kids know we are doing this and have ways to avoid our ever-watchful eyes. Your child or teen could possibly have set up a “SPAM” account on their Instagram.
A social media spam account is a way for kids to post whatever they’d like online without parental interference. It’s a secret account that they only allow to be followed by the friends they want to know about it. They have a double Instagram life of sorts because they can post things that are parent approved on one account and then post like all of their non supervised friends on the other account. You don’t have to worry, though, there is a way to find that spam account and disable it. I’ll show you how.
First of all you are going to have to be ok with making your child hand over their phone to you unexpectedly. Hopefully you have set a precedence for this kind of thing already so when you say, “Let me have a look at your phone.” there will be no discussion. If they aren’t used to it you may have to remind them who the parent actually is and require them to give it to you. The good thing is that you can find their spam account on Instagram in seconds so you can assure them they’ll get their phone back soon as long as you aren’t upset by what you find.
Here is a slideshow that will show you the few simple steps required to find a spam account if it’s enabled on your child’s Instagram app.
Hopefully you knew about any accounts you found. However, if you happen to find something you weren’t expecting then my recommendation is to have a serious conversation with your child about what they are posting that they feel they need to hide from you. Ask them what healthy social media use should look like and try to come up with an agreement on how to accomplish these healthy habits in your family. Don’t back down during these conversations and if you found anything that requires drastic action such as counseling or a loss of privilege then take that action as soon as possible.
Remember that these steps are about your child’s safety and protection. We know that our teens should be given a level of freedom within boundaries in order for them to build healthy habits but betrayal of your trust with a secret “SPAM” acc0unt should be taken very seriously. They may hate you for it now but someday they’ll understand and they’ll be grateful then. Just hang in there.
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