Coach Your Teen to Have a Winning Social Media Bio
The Social Institute offers insight
Here at The Social Institute, we coach students to think of social media as the biggest game in the world — one they can win or lose with every post, like, comment and share. As with all games, starting off strong is important.
Nearly all social media platforms allow users to write a “bio” as a part of their profile. It might seem like a small detail, but not even this part of the game should be overlooked.
Parents, think of it this way: If a certain social media platform is like your company’s website, the bio is like the “About Us” page. And, on most platforms, your child’s bio — and image — is public, even though she may have a private account.
Because your child’s bio truly offers a first impression to account viewers, encourage him to make it good. Here are some smart moves your child can make to create a winning bio:
• Suggest that your child use a recognizable image of himself that reflects his core. For example, does he live and breathe Carolina Panthers football? Suggest that he consider using an image taken during a game. Is your daughter a foodie or fashionista? Encourage her to choose an image that reflects that.
• Advise your child to keep her location blank. Only her family, closest friends and the pizza delivery person need that information.
• Ask your child to keep his email address to himself instead of using it as a username, which makes it public.
• Suggest to your child that she include information about what people might expect when they look at her posts. Will they see images of her volleyball team, pictures of her dog or some of both?
• Ask older children to consider using their school’s abbreviation as part of their bio. (This is something we get asked about a lot, and we say it’s OK if your child is in grade 10 or higher. If your child is old enough to drive, she’s old enough to make that choice.)
And while your child is sprucing up his bio, it’s a good idea to have him “spring clean” his accounts in general. Use this as an opportunity to talk about his goals and values, how those values appear to others on social media, and how posts and other online statements can help him accomplish what’s most important.
The bottom line: First impressions matter. Work with your child to ensure her social media bios and accounts truly reflect who she is, without giving away information that is better kept private. That’s a win-win for both of you.
Laura Tierney, a digital native who got her first phone at age 13, is founder and president of The Social Institute, which offers students positive ways to handle one of the biggest drivers of their social development: social media. She also recently became a mom. Learn more at thesocialinstitute.com.