>> Social media changes parent-child dynamics
While experts agree parents should know how their children are using social networking sites, they say fathers or mothers shouldn't take their involvement too far. How can parents connect with their children on social media without making their offspring feel uncomfortable? Psychologists and social media researchers in China and abroad offer some tips:
Maintain good boundaries
"Be a presence, but don't be overly intrusive, make derogatory comments or post embarrassing pictures. You have to keep it at the level that is appropriate and respectful of what the teen wants as well."
- Sarah Coyne, associate professor, Department of Family Life at Brigham Young University
Use social media in moderation
"Be careful you don't engage with your child too much on social networking sites and in the process overlook face-to-face communication and other forms of interaction."
- Zhang Zhongshan, senior teacher, Songjiang Teachers' Training College
Respect your child's personal space
"The greatest gift we can give them is critical thinking and skills to make good judgments. We don't teach them these things by keeping them locked up in a closet. They have to experiment and see what the real world is like, so they can understand the implications of their behavior and social dilemmas."
- Pamela Brown Rutledge, director, Media Psychology Research Center
Don't snoop on their private messages.
"They might not be aware of it, but it will sometimes come out in the relationship in other ways. They may be subtly aware of a shift in the relationship. With hidden information, sooner or later, people find out."
- Rob Blinn, clinical psychologist, Beijing United Hospital and Clinics
Show love and warmth while also setting rules
"Authoritative parenting - parents who are demanding of their children but also responsive to their needs - as well as open communication are generally thought to predict more positive outcomes than authoritarian approaches (parents who are demanding but not responsive to their children's needs)."
- Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck, assistant professor, School of Information at University of Michigan