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Lifestyle

April 12, 2013

On Instagram and spending April vacation with teens

(Continued)

Tweens and teens can’t get enough of Instagram because it excites their creativity when they share cool pictures, they feel connected to celebrities’ posts, and it provides them with a sense of worldwide community.

ABC News reported that some colleges review applicants’ social media pages to learn about them. Parents need to be knowledgeable, informed and have a strong position on their child’s use of social media. They need to advocate for their child’s emotional and physical safety from the time they first ask about social media until they are independent adults.

Parenting tip: Confident, aware parents can decide when and how their children will access social media. In addition to the already stated concerns, psychologists have a growing concern that people are developing an over-reliance on being connected at all times, and may even experience “withdrawal” when they’re not “connected.” Parents need to be cautious about unknowingly promoting this habit in their children.

Q: April vacation is here, and I have taken time off to spend with my two teenage girls. Their idea of a vacation is spending their time on Facebook and Skyping with their friends. What can I do?

A: Even though your girls are teenagers, as their parent, you have influence over how the vacation goes. Make a plan with them that includes time for their social life and for family time. Set a routine, because even teens benefit from structure. Here are some options:

Don’t allow them to sleep in past 8:30.

Start each day with exercise, a walk outside, a class at the YMCA, do something that gets you moving together.

Have a list of possible activities that include things like visiting a museum, walking the Freedom Trail, shopping at their favorite Boston stores. Ask for their input, and then each of you pick one or two.

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