Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. You are responsible for protecting your children, teaching them right from wrong, and helping guide them from childhood to adulthood. One issue that has concerned parents more in the last few years is the impact using social media is having on their children. Specifically, many parents are having trouble agreeing on what age their kids should be before they’re allowed to have their own social media accounts.
One example of this happened recently, when according to Forbes, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who are in the middle of a messy divorce, disagreed about allowing one of their kids, 8-year-old North West, to have a TikTok account. Reportedly, Kim created the account for North and manages it with her. However, even though Kim and North manage the social media account together, Kanye would prefer that his daughter not have a TikTok account at all until she is older.
The report didn’t mention how old North would have to be before Kanye would be comfortable with her having a TikTok account. One age that has become a benchmark for social media use in child custody cases over the years is 13 years old. While 13 years old is an age that many parents agree is an acceptable age to allow their kids to begin to use social media, as the Kardashian/West situation demonstrates, coming to an agreement regarding this issue is never simple.
What to Do If Divorced Parents Don’t Agree on When Their Kids Can Start Using Social Media
One of the hardest things about parenting, especially if the parents are divorced, is when parents disagree about things their kids should and shouldn’t be allowed to do. While both parents probably agree that their children shouldn’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or skip school, there are other less clear-cut issues that parents often disagree about.
For example, if one parent is religious and the other isn’t, agreeing about whether the kids should have to observe religious practices or not can be a problem. Similarly, there’s no easy right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether to allow your children to use social media. We’re all unique individuals. Some kids can handle using social media responsibly right away and others need more time to learn how to avoid social media’s many pitfalls.
Parents know their children best, so ultimately, they should be able to decide. However, that’s easier said than done, especially if the parents have different ideas about what their kids can handle when it comes to social media. Here are a few tips that may be able to help parents figure out what age their children should be before they’re allowed to use social media:
- Speak with your ex-spouse about what age your kids must be before you will both be comfortable with them using social media. If you want your spouse to respect your position, try respecting theirs, too. This starts with sitting down and having an honest, blunt, and civil conversation with them about your kids and social media use. Both of you should speak your minds and establish your position on the issue. Once you’ve done that, try to negotiate a common ground. If necessary, have a mediator help you and/or have your attorneys include this issue in your custody negotiations/agreement.
- Find out the minimum age to use various social media platforms. If a social media platform doesn’t allow a child to use their service until a certain age, then that age is probably a good starting point for you and your ex-spouse’s negotiations. The minimum age for signing up for an account with most social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, et cetera) is 13 years old.
- Ask your children what social media platforms they want to use and why. You need to know where your child’s head is at regarding social media. What do they think it is for and why do they want to use it? Are their friends on social media already? Do they understand the dangers of social media use, especially for kids? Do they want to use social media for appropriate reasons? Does it seem like if you tell them they can’t use social media until they’re older that they will try to sneak behind your back and use it anyway?
- Talk to your kids about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior on social media. Discuss with your kids the type of behavior that is appropriate and not appropriate on social media. Try to judge whether they understand what you’re saying and would be willing to follow any rules you set for social media use. If you get a sense that they would probably cross lines they shouldn’t cross while using social media, it may not be a good idea for them to use social media yet.
- Research the dangers of social media use for kids and teach your children how to stay safe while using social media. Go over the dangers of using social media with your kids and teach them how to recognize inappropriate behavior from others, spot potential predators, and protect themselves while using social media platforms. Most importantly, make sure they know that they can ask you and your ex-spouse about anything they encounter on social media, especially anything they run into that is out of the ordinary or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Need Help with Child Custody Negotiations? Contact Us Today!
Leavitt Law Firm is one of the most respected law firms in Clark County, Nevada. Our name carries a lot of weight in court rooms and with opposing attorneys. We’ve earned that reputation through hard work, dedication, and a track record of success that spans more than 30 years.
In the three decades plus that our legal team has spent serving this community, we have seen the fallout from unnecessarily messy child custody disputes. It is understandable that emotions run high during custody negotiations, because nothing is more important to parents than their kids. However, that doesn’t make the ugliness that can result from these negotiations any less unfortunate.
From the moment we take on a child custody case, we are dedicated to protecting our clients and their children. We always put what’s best for them first, but we also try to keep negotiations with the other side as civil and fair as possible, because at the end of the day, in most cases, we understand that both parents are fighting for what’s best for their kids.
For more information about Leavitt Law Firm and the strong bonds we’ve built with our clients over the years, read our clients’ testimonials.
To speak with one of our experienced child custody attorneys about your situation, give us a call at (702) 996-6052 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.