Social media

The online world is where the vast majority of teenagers live out a large part of their social lives. It’s a place where they talk to their friends, watch movies, listen to music and learn about a variety of subjects. But there are also a lot of online pitfalls too, of course, and it’s important that you, as a parent, keep a look out and teach your teenager how to handle and avoid them.

A lot of young people big themselves up with alcohol

Partying and alcohol are common themes when young people are creating their image on social media. For many of them, showing themselves in settings with alcohol signals that they have an outgoing, successful lifestyle. This means that young people who use social media such as Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram, or who follow vlogs, often encounter images or status updates in which young people are drinking alcohol.

Help your teenagers look after themselves

Almost 100 per cent of youngsters born between 2000 and 2010 watch YouTube and stream media on their mobiles. You’ll mainly find them on Snapchat and Instagram, with fewer using Facebook, for example. The Internet isn’t actually a dangerous place, but it’s important that teenagers can take care of themselves in the digital world. Talk to your teenager about how important it is to protect their integrity and not to hurt anyone else’s feelings or allow themselves to be hurt. That they borttagna ord Ska den här bilden översättas? 70 shouldn’t, for example, write nasty things about people, post pictures of someone else without their permission, or do things in other people’s names. You should also make it clear to them that not everything written and said online is true.

Remember that everything is potentially public

Social media are growing like wildfire and different platforms cooperate with one another. Which means that you can end up sharing your pictures and thoughts with a virtually unlimited number of people. Anything you post online can stay around for a very long time, and it’s often very difficult to get rid of it. Even if the picture is deleted, you have no control over who may have used it or shared it. This is why it’s so important to understand what posting something actually means and why it’s a good idea to discuss with your teenager what is – and is not – appropriate.

Be curious and interested

A lot of teenagers feel that their parents don’t always keep up with what’s happening online or know how social media works. And as a result, they may avoid turning to adults if they run into problems online. This is why it’s important that you get involved and keep up to date with what teenagers are doing, mainly so you know how it works, but also so that you can be there if something goes wrong. That having been said, it doesn’t mean that you have to be looking over your teenager’s shoulder all the time. It’s more about taking an interest and talking about it now and then.

Keep up to date

Why not check out some of the places where a lot of young people hang out, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, ASKfm, or YouTube, and familiarise yourself with the way social media networks and websites work? You’ll find the most widely read blogs at bloggportalen.se. Or you could ask your teenager. The vast majority of young people are experts on the Internet and are happy to show you where to hang out or the latest video clip. You can also read up on how the various sites work and what you can do if your teenager runs into trouble. It’s also important to remember that even if your teenager knows more about the net than you do, you’re still the one with the greatest experience or norms, rules and dangers.

Set limits and set the rules

As a parent, it’s you who decides what is OK and what is not. It’s never a good idea for them to visit sites that are not appropriate for young people. Be clear about what you think is reasonable, and set time limits, if you think it’s necessary. And talk to them about the sort of information they should and shouldn’t post. A lot of social media sites require some personal information as security or to give access to the site. Make sure your teenager is aware of how and when they should provide personal information. One simple tip is to decide that your teenager is not allowed to provide personal details such as their address, school, phone number, or to post pictures of themselves, without checking with you first.

If your teenager gets in trouble, report it

If you find out that your teenager has been exposed to or the victim of something online, it’s important that you are there for them and support them. Whatever the problem is, don’t judge or blame them. Listen to what your teenager is telling you and try not to let your own feelings take over. If whatever has happened is unacceptable, then you should absolutely report it. The most websites have a button you can click on to report a comment or image. If the problem involves something illegal, you can report it to the police. You can also, to the extent that it’s possible, talk to those involved.

Alcohol-related advertising and messages

Social media has created new ways for alcohol-related advertising and messages of reaching out to young people. The Internet offers previously undreamt of opportunities for anyone marketing beer, wine and spirits. Teenagers are often exposed to alcohol advertising, even if targeting this kind of advertising at people under the age of 25 is illegal. Many teenagers also receive alcohol messages from older friends and acquaintances or the celebrities they follow on social media. The Swedish Consumer Agency is the authority responsible for supervising alcohol advertising, you can approach them with your questions or to report advertising that you think may be improper.

It’s also a source of alcohol

There’s a relatively new but worrying trend of alcohol being bought for other people via social media. It’s relatively easy for a teenager to use a social network to get hold of beer, wine or spirits. Posting a request on Snapchat or Kik, for example, tends to result pretty quickly in “tips” from someone who knows someone. On Instagram, for example, there are dealers who advertise via anonymous accounts that young people can follow and use to contact the dealer. As a parent, it’s important that you’re aware of this. If you come across an account that you suspect of selling alcohol, it’s easy to report the account directly to Instagram. Talk to your teenager about alcohol sales via social media too. Explain why you don’t want your son or daughter to buy from these accounts and that people who do, are supporting criminal activity and exposing themselves to substantial risks.

More to read about the same topic

The teenage years

The teenage years are a very special time in your child’s life. Teenagers are navigating the frontier lands between childhood and adulthood and there are a lot of new things to handle: school, friends, being allowed to stay out late, sex, parties and – not least – alcohol.

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

Teenagers and alcohol

There are many considerations that can easily arise when your child becomes a teenager. But first and foremost: how do young people think about drinking themselves? And why is it more dangerous to drink alcohol in adolescence than as an adult?

Take responsibility

Maybe you sometimes feel pretty helpless as a parent. But there’s a lot you can do. As always showing that you care, that you’re there and that you are happy to listen. And often it’s important to be clear about what you expect of your teenager.

If parents are not around

Festivals, home parties and trips abroad are examples of situations where adults are rarely present. There are some pitfalls that you, as a parent, should be aware of and that you can teach your teenager how to handle.

Yes or no?

The clearer you communicate your expectations, the easier it is for your teenager to take a stand or do what you say. Also, think about what sort of message and values you’re conveying to your child.

Teenager’s drinking habits

Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for young people, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol? How much do they drink? And what sort of problems do young people experience in connection to alcohol?

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