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We live in a time where we can communicate with our grandkids in several ways, including video chat, text message, and social media, the latter of which comes with its own set of do’s and don’ts! While social media is all about – well, being social – there is still some etiquette we all need to follow, especially regarding our grandkids!
To make this easier, I have researched and compiled a list of 15 dos and don’ts for conversing with your grandkids on social media. (Don’t worry: It’s all things you already do or don’t do, but we can all use a little refresher!)
1. Do: Celebrate their achievements
Your grandkids are doing amazing things every day, and as their grandparent, you’re rightly proud. Sharing their accomplishments – whether they’ve just won a soccer game, aced a test, or showcased their artwork – can be an excellent way to express your pride. However, remember to ask their permission first. A little respect for their digital space can go a long way!
2. Don’t: Post embarrassing photos or stories
While that picture of little Johnny with mashed peas all over his face might seem adorable to you, he might not appreciate it being on the Internet for all his friends to see. Try to resist the urge to post potentially embarrassing photos or stories about your grandkids. Save them for family gatherings where you can all laugh together.
3. Do: Show genuine interest in their posts
A comment from Grandma or Grandpa can mean the world to your grandkids. Show interest in what they share on social media, whether a new hobby, a selfie, or even their latest drawing. Your positive words of encouragement can boost their self-esteem and show them that you’re keeping up with their lives.
4. Don’t: Over-comment or intrude on their conversations
While engaging with your grandkids’ posts is good, avoid overdoing it since bombarding them with too many comments, especially on conversations they’re having with their friends, might feel intrusive. Find a balance that lets them know you’re interested but not overly involved.
Your grandkids are interested in your life too! Sharing your experiences, hobbies, or memories can lead to wonderful online conversations and deepen your connection. Just finished a jigsaw puzzle? Post it! This can give them insights into your life and potentially inspire shared activities.
Avoid sharing intimate details about your grandkids, like their school name, home address, or other sensitive information. Always respect their privacy and remember that once something is online, it’s hard to erase it completely.
7. Do: Keep up with their digital trends
Every now and then, try to understand and engage with the digital trends your grandkids are interested in, be it a new social media challenge, a popular song, or a trending meme. Believe me: Showing them that you understand their world can be an excellent way to strengthen your bond!
While social media is an excellent tool for staying connected, nothing can replace a phone call, a video chat, or a face-to-face conversation. Make sure to diversify your interactions with your grandkids and not rely solely on social media.
9. Do: Respect their boundaries
Your grandkids may have certain boundaries about what they’re comfortable with you seeing or commenting on. If they ask you not to comment on specific posts or to refrain from adding their friends, respect their wishes.
10. Don’t: Tag them without permission
In the world of social media, tagging someone in a photo, video, or post signifies that they’re a part of it or would be interested in it. It’s always wise to ask your grandkids’ permission before tagging them, as they might not want to be associated with certain content, even if it seems harmless.
11. Do: Use emojis and GIFs sparingly
While emojis and GIFs can add fun to your interactions, using them too much can be overwhelming. A smiley face or a thumbs-up is usually enough to convey your emotions 😛
12. Don’t: Believe everything you see online
The Internet is full of misinformation and scams, so if you see a post that seems outrageous or a message that appears suspicious, take it with a grain of salt. It’s always a good idea to check the source’s reliability and verify the information before believing it or sharing it with others.
13. Do: Set your privacy settings
Ensure your social media privacy settings are properly adjusted to maintain your safety online. Check each platform’s settings to control who can see your posts, who can tag you, and who can send you messages.
14. Don’t: Post without thinking it through
On social media, it’s easy to post something without giving it much thought, but you should always take a moment to consider it before you post! Could this possibly upset your grandkids or other family members? When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
One of the best – albeit most overlooked – ways to use social media is as a tool to plan real-life activities. If your grandkid is interested in a particular band, sport, or hobby, why not use that knowledge to plan a related outing or gift?
Remember, being a part of your grandkids’ social media world is a privilege. Respecting their boundaries, encouraging safe practices, and sharing in their joy helps you stay connected in a way that they appreciate and welcome. So keep up the good work, digital Grandmas – you’ve got this!