My 6-Year-Old Knows More About Social Media than Most Adults


My 6-year-old Skypes with friends in Italy. She knows the difference between Snapchat filters and Instagram stories; a Facebook post versus a blog post; a vlog for youtube versus a live stream video on Facebook or Periscope, and she doesn’t even have a cell phone. I guess this is just one of the new realities of millennial motherhood.

She likes to save fun ideas to her birthday party Pinterest board and she just started recording and editing her own videos on Final Cut Pro (I just gave her her first lesson this weekend and she’s hooked!).

Because of what I do, my children are well aware of many of the workings of social media. My daughter understands people read what I write and respond. She isn’t to the point of asking how people are responding to to her images or parts in the vlog. She’s more interested in watching the videos back, or listening to a story about herself.

As my children get older, their schedules get bigger and getting their own cell phones become more of a necessity… I’m becoming more aware of how I’m using my devices.

“We can’t be on our phones all evening in front of our kids,” I tell my husband. First of all, I don’t want their memories of family dinner time to be of us staring at our phones. And second of all, (and likely most concerning) I don’t want to set a bad precedent for when they have their own phones.

Responsibility starts with me. I need to demonstrate the behavior I want my kids to have.

Research shows that 60% of 10 years olds have a cell phone. Doctor Gilboa, who is on the Advisory Board and also writes the blog Ask Doctor G has some good advice for parents as we learn to navigate this rocky terrain.

“Think about the where, when and what of cell phones,” she said.

If you feel your tween needs a phone, what about a “dumb” phone phone that doesn’t have internet access? If you feel that internet access is truly necessary, then set up clear boundaries for where and when phones can and can’t be used. Make sure those phones are charging from an hour before bedtime, in a parent’s bedroom. Keep a few spaces sacred, like the dinner table and bed. Don’t use a cell phone in a way that you don’t want your child to use a cell phone when they are an adult. And monitor content, even though it’s hard!

I’m trying to keep the lines of communication open so they feel comfortable coming to me with questions. As many as my daughter asks me on a daily basis right now, I’m hoping that won’t be a problem.

A method I use for tough questions right now is a “pre-test” approach. Where I answer my daughter’s questions with questions, to see how much she understands about a topic. From there I fill in the blanks honestly. I’d rather they get truthful information from me, then a hodgepodge of information from peers. We’ll use this in chats about things from race, movies, to alcohol to sex (my palms are sweaty just thinking about it though–yikes!)

My daughter may be getting a crash course in social media at the ripe age of 6. I’m either raising a genius or a monster. Only time will tell which one. But I’m working to be with her every step of the way, so when she’s old enough to take it on herself, she’s ready.

*I’m passionate about building strong relationships with our children and being there for the important conversations. That is why I partnered with #TalkEarly on this post. Stay tuned in the coming months for more on this important topic. 

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  1. Thank you for this great information! I feel like my kids are so much more involved online and it scares me!

  2. One thing is for sure, the technology age isn’t going anywhere and our kids need to keep up with it but not be crushed by it. Great job helping your little one figure all this out!

  3. This is a great way to teach little ones about technology. It seems kids are getting introduced to these things at a much younger age and it’s so important to answer their questions so they learn from the ones who care most about them.

  4. Because our school is completely digital now my son is online way more than ever before. It is a little scary as he is 17 and trying to monitor him is getting harder the older he gets. then of course there is school where they are online all day and I’m sure the teachers do their best but things can slip by.

  5. Kids are exposed yo do much nowadays with social media. Everything is right there in your face. I like that you answer questions with questions just to see where she is,

  6. It is a completely different era then when we were growing up. It is amazing how well kids know how to use technology. It seems to be a part of them somehow.

  7. I agree, mine are exposed early too with lots of conversations and sharing of all passwords. We want it to be a tool for positive relationships and if that ever changes, privileges will be taken.

  8. This is such a smart way to approach the inevitable deluge of technology in our lives. As a fellow blogger, my kids too see me processing social media all the time and with different methods. They are very aware of what I do and as they get older it’s really nice to be able to include them in different aspects of it. We also make sure to have unplugged time!

  9. I’m so glad my kids grew up before social media became such a huge part of our lives. I can’t imagine how challenging it must be to guide children through the online world.

  10. It’s amazing how quickly kids pick up technology isn’t it? Social media wasn’t really a big thing when my daughter (now 13) was little, but my 3 year old knows the names of all the social platforms, loves watching kids YouTube channels, can tell people exactly what I do for a living and what a blog is and can work a smartphone or iPad like a pro. And to be honest I’ve never really shown him what to do – he’s picked it up from watching other people use their devices.

    Even though technology is a big part of our lives, I still like to make sure we have a few hours a day where we’re not looking at screens. We usually play a game, do some crafts or colouring-in or go for a walk to the park. It’s nice to switch off for a while, and it does them good.

    Louise 🙂

  11. This is so true. I tell my husband all the time he can’t be on his phone at the dinner table. Kids know so much about technology these days, and they learn they habits from us.

  12. As someone above said, technology is part of our lives now, whether we like it or not. Just recently I got the girls some Coding apps and they’re loving it so far but I try very hard to limit their iPad screen time to just a few hours on the weekend. It’s completely off limits during the week. We prefer to keep our weeks free for Skyping with our friends! (We need to set up another session soon)

    1. We’re trying to get down to only weekends. It’s way easier with my daughter right now since she’s so busy. My son can entertain himself for awhile but he loves talking Tom and not participating in homeschool, haha. So sometimes I use it as a distraction. We totally need to skype again! Yes! Next month is gonna get a little crazy so let’s try to do a Thursday in April!

  13. I couldnt agree more with having to display the behaviour you want your kids to have. Dinner should be a time for family interaction, not phones.

    It is scary, my one year old already knows how to scroll the screen on a mobile.

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