Tackling Tough Social Media Conversations: 3 Common Issues and How To Address Them

Young student using cell phone device discreetly while teacher is presenting

Social media and the mobile devices used to access those apps have a pervasive pull on adolescents and teens, even when they’re supposed to be studying or socializing “IRL” at school. As a result, educators may be the first to notice social media- and device-related issues that need to be addressed with caregivers. Those can be tough conversations — it’s easy to feel as though addressing a student’s social media and device use could feel out of bounds.

However, when a situation is affecting students’ physical or mental wellness, it becomes vital for an empathetic educator to start a dialogue with their family. In any conversation, take care to open by expressing concern (rather than blame or criticism), underscore the reasons social media can be beneficial to youth and emphasize your desire to work on solutions together. Listening is critical.

Here are three potentially sticky situations involving social media and devices for which you might want to initiate this dialogue, along with ideas for how to frame the conversation.

Note: Schools and districts likely have their own policies for how to handle student issues involving social media and devices. We intend for these examples to provide additional best practices to validate or enhance your own approach.