How an internet safety expert (really) talks with her tweens about internet safety

“Why can’t I have TikTok? All the other kids have it.”

I look up at my son and hold back my sigh. It is literally the third week in a row that my 11-year-old is looking at me with these sad puppy dog eyes and asking for access to something that is on our no-fly list.

We discussed this as a family. We discussed why underage kids should not have access to age-specific accounts, until they reach that specific age. We came to a family agreement. We checked all the boxes, and here I sat (again!) having to be the bad guy, having to say no while explaining the reasons and countering some pretty wild tween logic.

“But if the parents of the other kids say it’s ok, why can’t you?”

Let’s put this conversation on hold for a second and let me explain the irony of this situation. You see, I’m a digital parenting expert and my passion is supporting families in just these types of situations.

I have spent the past 10 years immersing myself in all things legal and digital. I practiced law in California, taught law in Paris, and studied topics concerning child online protection, social media platforms, games and devices. Parents and caregivers expect me to have the answers to all their digital questions.

So let me give it to you straight: Parenting a child in the digital age is an adventure in creativity, resilience, persistence and a whole panoply of other skills. And the best part is that you already have the most important skill in the mix— the ability to listen and ensure an open dialogue with your child. You want your child to grow up healthy, happy and able to take advantage of the opportunities available today—both in real life and online.

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