Make A Social Media Contract


You’re not born knowing how to navigate social media, just like you’re not born knowing how to drive a car. To do either one safely, you have to first learn how. The rules are there because of what you don’t know yet—not because your parents don’t trust you. The rules are also there because at your age you’re likely to do things without carefully considering the consequences—this will change as you get older. And they’re there because you’ll be interacting online with people you don’t really know. You may feel like you know them, maybe because they are a friend of a friend, but they’re actually strangers. In order to keep yourself safe online, it helps to make a social media contract. This agreement between you and your parents sets limits and expectations, and ultimately helps keep you safe. Some ideas:

  1. I will not sign up for any site without my parents’ OK.
  2. My parents and I will preview a site together before deciding to sign me up.
  3. My parents and I will register for my account and set privacy settings together, and I will not change any settings myself.
  4. My parents will have the usernames and passwords to any accounts I have.
  5. My parents will “friend” and “follow” me on all my sites and will be able to see everything I post.
  6. I will never post my last name, my home address, the name of my school, or other information that identifies me or my family—either in words or in pictures.

There are lots of other digital device contracts available online that you and your parents may want to check out. They help address issues like screen time, phone responsibilities, and consequences for breaking the agreement. As annoying as the idea might sound, most kids love knowing that their parents care so much about their online safety.