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Social media guidelines

February 9, 2016
Patrick Ward , MOV Parent

Parents today are truly pioneers in parenting during the internet age. Now, we face a new challenge with how to wisely use social media. Why this is a unique challenge is that parents are learning these rules for themselves at the same time they are setting guidelines for their children. Parents are realizing that rules around social media are needed because even though it's in "cyberspace," what is said and done there has real-life consequences.

Pew Internet Research ( has found that 95 percent of all teens ages 12-17 are regularly online. Furthermore, 81 percent of those teens are regularly on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Snapchat and of course texting. The typical teen sends and receives 30 texts a day. For females the number is closer to 40 a day.

People communicate - its human nature. Its what we do. The challenge parents are facing with the new means of communication available to everyone is this: What is being communicated and what effect is it having? Oversharing, cyberbullying and "drama" are just a few of the top issues that need to be addressed. The consequences are real and longstanding when we underestimate the power of the written word in a text or the photo or video posted online. Its not uncommon to hear about students being suspended or adults being fired from their jobs because of what they posted or said on social media.

Article Photos

What we need are some practical guidelines for communication online. Here are some examples:

For more information, visit

Patrick Ward, Ph.D. is a marriage and family therapist in Parkersburg. Visit his website at



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