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Keeping an eye on your child's social media; experts warn how their actions on social media today can come back years from now

At the click of a button, the entire social media world is at our fingertips, bringing new content with every refresh.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With all that is happening in the world right now from the coronavirus threat to the unrest following the death of George Floyd, our social media pages are flooded with strong opinions. 

At the click of a button, the entire social media world is at our fingertips, bringing new content with every refresh.

Melissa Black is a mother of two. She has a 10-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. She said her oldest son is allowed to use social media, so he can see for himself, the world that is around him. 

"You can't hide from what's going on around you and I think that it's really unfair to him to try and act like everything is okay when obviously it's not," Black said. 

Black believes communicating with her kids about what they're seeing on social media helps build trust.

"If your kids don't talk to you, they're going to talk to somebody so might as well control the narrative," Black added.

Elisabeth Tabor has two sons; one is eight, the other 13. She said she doesn't allow them to have any social media because she believes they're too young to take in everything that can be shared and seen on a screen. She believes the latest on COVID-19 and rallies across the nation happening right now are conversations that need to start at home.

"I feel really strongly that those are conversations that I should be having and my husband should be having with kids," Tabor said. "Not outside sources. Not other people. We need to be the ones having those, starting those, digging into those conversations at home, around the dinner table and not on a screen."

Dr. Timothy Oblad is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas A&M University-Kingsville; he said parents should constantly communicate with their kids about what's going on outside of home. If not, they could get the wrong message from somewhere else.

"They're getting their news sources from not the best source," Dr. Oblad said. "The majority of teenagers are getting their news from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram even."

Dr. Oblad said parents should familiarize themselves with the platforms their kids are using and talk about how their actions on social media today can come back years from now.

"Pay attention to what others are doing around them so that they're not accidentally, resending or resharing or retweeting something that can cause problems for them or of things that aren't even true," Dr. Oblad added.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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