What Parents Need to Know About Tumblr

Our kids are way more Internet savvy than we are, simply because it's their norm. They've never known a time without it. This has its advantages and disadvantages.

Tumblr is a perfect example. Just so we're all on the same page,

Tumblr is a social media site where each user has their own blog and "reblogs" different posts they like. When you follow a person or company, all of their posts show up on your homepage, making it easy to connect with people around the world. (I had a 9-year-old explain this to me, so I'm pretty sure it's right.)

Like it or not, it's our job as parents to ensure we understand and are aware of the sites our kids are visiting. There is nothing wrong with the spread of ideas and opinions. From tweens to adults, it helps us grow as human beings. However, when kids are young and impressionable it's hard for them to separate fact from opinion. Kids are prone to assume that because they read the information on the site or blog of someone they like or a company they admire, that it's true.

The solution is to set limits on where kids are allowed to go online, monitor and/or set controls on what's off limits, and talk to our kids about what they are seeing and what it means Just as you would not allow your fourteen year old to go to an adult club or gathering of young anarchists, there are countless sites and fringe groups on Tumblr and other apps. One rule that I always recommend to parents is "no erasing your history." While you don't need to invade your kids' privacy about personal posts and relationships, you do want to know what sites they're viewing and whether or not these sites should be off limits.

Your goal is to balance reasonable censorship with teaching your child to read critically. When, for example, your kids mention something they read on a website that you know to be questionable, direct them to different articles, pages or blogs about the same subject. It's not so much pointing out that the site is wrong, as teaching them to challenge assumptions. Ask them, "This site says X, but this site says Y. Which do you think is true? Why?"

By exposing your kids to wider content (on topics on which they're already interested), they'll gain a better understanding that there are multiple ways to view a topic. This shows your kids that you aren't dismissing their findings, but accepting a thirst for knowledge. It also allows them to make up her own mind about the subject. Will your kids always reach the "right" decision? Probably not. But what matters is that you're teaching them to think for themselves.

For more tips and advice, check out our other articles and if you're ready to raise your parenting to another level, click here and choose from one of our online courses or find an in person class near you.