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Would you leave your 13 year-old at the mall all alone? Would you leave your 15 year-old daughter alone with thousands of strangers? Would you allow your 18 year-old to live 3,000 miles away from home without you, any access or connection, communication with you? Would you allow your kid to move to another planet? Well if you have no access to your kids’ social media life, you really disconnected from their real life.

When MySpace first became a thing a century ago, parents had no interest in the social media site. They felt it was just something for kids. This outlook proved dangerous for many families. If you wouldn’t allow strangers into your kid’s rooms, why do you allow them access to your children without your guidance and supervision?

Today, there are even more social media sites. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to Snapchat, your kids have access to more people, and more people have access to them.  So why is it that most teens and young adults feel the need to insist on social media privacy from their parents? Why would you want the persons who have always taken care of you and have your back to stay away from you online? What sense does it make to close yourself off to the people who love you and open yourself to people who could hurt you? It makes no sense.

Blocking your parents from your social media accounts is like going swimming in the Atlantic Ocean without a life jacket, skydiving without a parachute.  It makes no sense and could be hazardous to your health and safety. After all, who’s going to remind you who you are when you forget? Who’s going to caution you on putting images and words online that could impact you years later?

If you’re a parent who feels your kids deserve complete privacy online because you all live in a safe neighborhood or they’re safe in college, you’re missing the mark. Your kids may be physically in your home or in college, but their attention is online, and eventually their bodies will go where their minds and attention are. Don’t be blinded by the safety of your home or their dorms. If your child isn’t making good decisions online and on social media, it could cost them a lot, including their reputation and their safety.  They need your eyes and your heart to keep them safe and smart.

If you don’t know your kids’ online life, you really don’t know their real life. This is not a indictment. It’s simply a wake up call. You need to know what your minor and adult kids’ lives are on social media. If you don’t, how else can you advise, instruct and caution them? More importantly ask yourself: what is it they wish to hide from you that they’re willing to share with the world?