Some parents feel social media is going to take over their teens’ lives. One way you can help manage your kids’ online activity is by setting boundaries. In this article, we’ll cover why kids need social media boundaries and some tips on how parents can set healthy boundaries with their tweens and teens.
Why do kids need social media boundaries?
Apps like TikTok and Instagram have become a form of entertainment for many of us, not just tweens and teens. These apps have fun and engaging trends such as dances, music challenges, and style-related videos that capture the attention of teenagers. Teens are at the age that they want to be part of the latest trends.
According to PEW Research, 95 per cent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 per cent of those say they are online “almost constantly.” Without doing the math, that’s still a lot of screen time each day.
Excessive use of media and social media could lead to problems in concentration, lack of sleep and exercise, and ignoring school work. That’s why it’s important for parents to set daily routines and provide some social media boundaries with their kids, so there’s a balance between teens using their devices and spending time with others IRL.
8 ways to set social media boundaries with your tweens and teens
In today’s technologically driven society, social media and online activities are a huge part of how teenagers make friends. While it plays a key role in their teenage years, it’s also important to set healthy device usage rules. Here are eight ways parents can set social media boundaries with their tweens and teens:
1. Set aside dedicated screen-time
Have a discussion with your teen about how much screen time they are allowed per day or per week. Have a plan in place for how you can keep track of this as well. The easiest way to ensure that it’s followed is by having a “no screen time after 8 p.m.” rule or something similar. Alternatively, you can also have “screen-free” days where one (or two) days a week your kids are meant to switch off and put their phones away.
2. No phones at the table or on specific occasions
Have a no phones rule at certain times. For example, no phones at the dining table during family mealtime. Other rules could be no phones while watching T.V. or not being on two screens at the same time. Parents may also want to consider no phones at events such as family gatherings, birthdays, parties, and road trips.
3. Use privacy settings
Explain the importance of privacy and security to your kids. Doing so will help them understand when you set up the privacy limits on their profiles, along with parental controls on their social media apps and phones.
4. Use social media as a reward
To keep things fun and engaging, you can reward your teens with extra screen time or the privilege of keeping their phone with them for one night if they finish certain chores on time. Occasionally rewarding your teen with extra privileges may motivate them to do the not-so-fun things (like homework!)
5. Have a contract
Draw up a “formal” contract with your teenager on when and how long they can use their phone and engage on social media. Putting it down in writing—and signing it—might make the process more fun for your teen. They’re also more likely to feel like they’re being treated like an adult.
6. Have access to their social media
It may sound intrusive, but parents should consider having access to their tween and teen’s social media accounts. That includes all their email addresses, social media logins, and passwords. Log in and check through periodically to make sure your kids aren’t being bullied, messaging with strangers, or being exposed to inappropriate content.
7. Have a discussion about the pitfalls
If parents are putting boundaries on their teen’s social media use, it’s important to explain why. Discuss the potential consequences of using social media frequently, the dangers of messaging strangers online, and educate them on cyberbullying. Also, let your kids know they can talk to you about anything they come across on social media.
8. Lead by example
If parents are setting boundaries around social media and online use, they should also apply the same rules to themselves. Bring awareness to your usage. Are you constantly on social media or on your phone? Similarly, put your screens away at the dinner table or during family celebrations. Many teens learn through observation. And besides, chances are they’ll call you out for breaking your own rules. So, best to lead by example.
How to frame your boundaries positively
While setting healthy boundaries is one way to help keep your kids safe online, it’s important not to frame these rules as a punishment. Parents want their kids to have a healthy and positive and healthy relationship with social media. When establishing social media use, emphasize to your tween and teen what they can do over what they can’t do. It helps add a positive lens to the situation.
Social media is a big part of our everyday lives and we want kids and teens to have healthy boundaries so they can grow up to be independent adults. Social media is a big part of our everyday lives, and we want kids and teens to have healthy boundaries so they can grow up to be independent adults. Want to dive deeper into the topic of social media for kids and teens? Check our social media guide for parents, where we break down everything parents need to know about popular platforms, privacy and safety, and more.
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Kids and teens are growing up in a world where social media is an everyday part of their lives. That’s why it’s important for parents to help them understand the good and the bad that come with the online world. While social media is great for connecting with friends and family, keeping up to date with trends, and even learning new skills, it has some downsides. One of which is cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is one of the negative repercussions of using social media, especially amongst Gen Z. Understanding and having an open discussion about cyberbullying with your kids is highly recommended. This article will help you navigate that discussion, along with equipping you with the knowledge you may need to manage cyberbullying if the situation arises.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place in a digital space. Cyberbullying can take place through social media, text messages, online gaming, and more.
Cyberbullying may cause mental health issues, social anxiety, a dip in academic performance, or more aggressive behaviour. As parents, you want the best for your kids, and you do not want to see them being subjected to any form of bullying.
What are the different types of cyberbullying?
With the variety of social media platforms and the number of things that teens and tweens can upload online, there are different opportunities for people to comment on. As a result, there are different types of cyberbullying based on the content being created by users online. Here are some of the different types of cyberbullying:
This is a broad term and can cover many aspects of cyberbullying. However, in this context, harassment can refer to a constant pattern of hurtful comments and messages and can lead to harm or mental health-related issues. Online harassment is usually when the same person or group leaves negative comments, spreads rumours, sends insulting messages, and engages in constant texting wars.
There are situations of cyberbullying where the bully can resort to creating profiles that are similar to their target. For example, they would create a profile of the victim and post offensive things, making it look like the victim posted those things. They could use the profile to message other people things that are inappropriate, such as insults or rude messages.
Some online bullies can resort to taking pictures of their victim, such as in the locker room, and threatening to share them online, or even going ahead and sharing them to shame the victim. There are also situations where some bullies may threaten to share embarrassing pictures of the victim on social media in exchange for a favour such as homework or lunch money.
Some extreme cases of cyberbullying can lead to the bully creating a website or blog aiming to post negative things about the victim. The blog could include negative polls, sharing embarrassing stories about the person they’re attacking, and possibly embarrassing images.
When someone is being bullied physically, it can sometimes be recorded, and the bully may post it online. Sometimes, bullies may take videos of their target in an embarrassing situation or even set up such a situation to post online.
This is technically not a form of cyberbullying, but it can be if the comments are hateful or rude. People who post troll comments are usually detached from their victims and may post mocking comments on anyone’s content.
Any negative behaviour can have an impact. Teens and kids, in general, are going through a phase and figuring out who they are. Adding cyberbullying to that equation could influence their mental health and how they perceive themselves.
Some of the effects of cyberbullying on youth include:
Depression and anxiety
Constant cyberbullying can isolate a person and leave them feeling lonely. Hurtful comments online can be ignored, but if cyberbullying is constant, it can make your child wonder if some aspects of the comments are true. This can lead to negative thoughts and feeling sad while increasing a sense of worry and isolation.
As teenagers are still growing and figuring out who they are, it can have a negative effect when a bully comments on who they are or how they look. They can question if a certain comment is true and find faults in themselves. Additionally, constant cyberbullying can also make them wonder, “why is this happening to me?” This can lead to low-self esteem and self-doubt.
Academic performance issue
Mental health is very important to all of us, including teenagers. However, being in a constantly negative headspace can distract them from other important things in life, including their academic performance.
In extreme cases of cyberbullying, some kids can’t handle the pressure and may resort to taking drugs and or alcohol to numb their thoughts. Substance abuse can cause a domino effect and affect other areas of their lives, such as academic performance, social life, and general physical and mental health.
Anger and/or mood swings
A common sign of cyberbullying can be anger or mood swings. While this can also be a general teenage temperament, parents should always check in with their kids and teens to ensure they can handle their emotions effectively.
Different kids react differently to cyberbullying. Some kids may find it difficult to sleep or eat, and these are signs to look out for. Be aware of any anxiety that may keep them up at night or stop them from eating.
How to deal with cyberbullying
Cyberbullying could happen to anyone. It’s important for your tween and teen to know that it’s not their fault. While they may feel powerless, there are some things they can do to manage cyberbullying, if it should happen to them.
1. Don’t retaliate
People who engage in cyberbullying are usually looking to upset the person they’re targeting or get a response. While it’s hard not to scratch an itch, talk to your teen about not retaliating to the cyberbullying, which could potentially escalate the bullying. That means not writing a salty reply (or meme) in response and no name-calling.
2. Don’t reread the posts
Encourage your teen to resist the urge to reread any comments or posts, as it may lead to them ruminating about what was posted. Instead, talk to your kids about how the issue is with the person doing the bullying, not with them.
3. Report the behaviour
The person doing the bullying may delete their comment or post, so have your kids take screenshots first, so they have evidence of the cyberbullying. Then they can report offending posts or comments to the social media platform or to a moderator, in the case of something like a Facebook group.
4. Take a social media break
Encourage your teen to take a break from technology for a couple of days. Most of us use our phones for things other than social media, so have them sign out of apps or delete them completely off their phone until they’re ready to go back online.
5. Seek support
It’s understandable that your child is going to feel upset about being the target of cyberbullying—especially if it’s by someone they know. Be sure your tween or teen knows they can come to you for comfort and support. Suggest to them they also write a short list of things that make them better and do some of those. It could be taking a warm bath, snuggling up on the couch watching their favourite Netflix sitcom or spending time with a trusted friend.
How can parents prevent cyberbullying
As parents, you want the best for your kids, and you don’t want to see them being subjected to any form of bullying.
Below are some suggestions on what parents can do to help prevent cyberbullying:
Go through your child’s contact lists with them
Take the time out to go through your child’s contact lists on their phone, social media platforms, and emails. Let them tell you who each person is, how they know each other, and what kind of relationship they have. Do this regularly to ensure everything is going well.
Talk to your kids about cyberbullying
Explain the concept of cyberbullying and how your kids should talk to you if anything happens. Do this regularly as well, so that they are conditioned to know that they can come to you whenever they need to. Also, assure them that if they are cyberbullied, it’s not their fault.
Familiarize yourself with social media apps
While you know which social media apps are available, it is important to know how to navigate them as well. It would be helpful to know which social media apps are popular with teens and how to use them. You could even ask your kids to walk you through them. We’ve also put together a social media guide for parents, which helps break down the most popular social media platforms.
Check on your kids’ mental health
Even outside of cyberbullying, it’s always advisable to check on your kids’ mental health. It will help you understand what’s going on in their minds and look out for any early signs of cyberbullying—if any.
Cyberbullying is an important issue that many teens face. To ensure that your kids are using social media responsibly, talk about the safety precautions surrounding social media use and encourage your kids and teens to share any uncomfortable situations that could lead to cyberbullying.
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“Just five more minutes!” That’s today’s rallying cry from teens, who can’t get enough of gaming. Parents, meanwhile, sigh and worry about the consequences of kids spending so many hours in front of screens, battling invisible opponents. What is gaming, and is it safe? Can kids develop a gaming addiction? Will they ever come to the family dinner table again?
In this guide, we provide some resources to help parents better understand the facts of video games, why games are so compelling for tweens and teens, and how to help them stay safe as they navigate these fun and fascinating immersive worlds.
Why is gaming popular with kids and teens?
Perhaps your formerly social kid, who used to have so many interests, wants to spend seemingly every waking minute in front of the computer or on the console, gaming. That can be hard for parents to accept or understand. But, why is gaming so popular with tweens and teens?
Gaming helps teens meet some basic psychological needs:
Video games can help teens feel competent. They provide opportunities to be challenged, to improve skills through practice and problem-solving, and to master tasks. They provide constant feedback so that kids learn how to succeed. Gamification can also be a great way to teach kids valuable lessons, such as the importance of saving.
Video games can give teens a much-needed sense of control as they choose games, create avatars, design and build their ideal environments, and decide how and when to interact with selected peers.
Teens use games as a way to fulfil a deep human need to connect with each other. During the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming was one of the few safe ways for kids to connect and hang out with their friends. In the same way, we used to hang out at the mall or spend hours on the phone—our kids are hanging out with each other in virtual worlds.
For kids who have trouble fitting in at home or school, gaming can be a lifeline. That’s because online gaming can provide safe spaces for teens to experiment with their changing sense of identity. Adolescents are doing the critical work of “finding themselves,” games offer opportunities to try on different avatars, skins, personas and accessories to see what fits. That can be especially valuable to young people coming to identify as LGBTQ2S+ or nonbinary or having trouble fitting in.
So, the next time you feel frustrated because your kid is “sitting and staring at a screen for hours,” it can help to try a shift in perspective. Instead, remember they’re hanging out with friends, meeting new people, solving problems, practising social skills, figuring out who they are, and actively creating new and exciting worlds. As parents, we can help them integrate gaming into a healthy life.
There are many ways to play video games. Most likely, your tween or teen is playing on one or more of the following top platforms:
Game consoles—like the Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or Wii
Personal computers or laptops that can install games or go through online gaming platforms like Steam, the Epic Games Store and Xbox Game Pass.
Mobile phones and tablets that allow on-the-go gaming, including augmented-reality games.
What are the costs associated with gaming?
Like most things in life, gaming isn’t free. Here are the major costs parents (and teens) need to be aware of:
Your kid needs something to game on, whether that’s their phone, tablet, a PC, or a gaming console. If they’re gaming on a console, they’ll also need access to a television or computer monitor. Other accessories include extra controllers, headphones, virtual-reality headsets, keyboards, and gaming mice. And don’t forget batteries for controllers!
For online games, there’s also the cost for data and (high-speed) internet access. As any parent of a teenage gamer who constantly complains about slow internet knows, the faster the connection, the better.
While many games, especially those available on a phone or website, are free to download. Others have an upfront price tag. An in-demand game could easily set your teen back $60 to $90 CAD. While there are free games on gaming platforms like Steam, there are also many more that cost anywhere from $5 to $80 CAD plus. Other online games and some gaming platforms require a paid subscription. Both Sony and Microsoft, for example, offer monthly, quarterly, or annual plans that will cost gamers at least $70 a year to play online through Playstation Plus and Xbox Live—although this isn’t required for single player games.
Downloadable content and in-app purchases
Finally, there’s the less obvious cost of online gaming, such as in-app purchases, microtransactions and downloadable content (DLC). In short, these are the charges your tween or teen will need to make to buy premium or expanded content in a game or app. An in-app purchase might let you enjoy ad-free versions of the game, buy extra lives or supercharged powers, or even download extra quests, characters, items, maps, and other content to enhance the gaming experience. These charges can often add up quickly. Kids and parents need to be aware of how much they’re spending and take steps to avoid getting charged for unexpected expenses, especially if those costs are going on your credit card.
Multiplayer video games let more than one person play the same game at the same time. Kids can play competitively, cooperatively, or as companions in complex interactive worlds and challenges, all while talking or texting with each other. The built-in social interactions offered by online multiplayer gaming are exactly why these games are so popular with tweens and teens—it gives them an opportunity to play and interact with their friends.
A multiplayer role-playing game (RPG) lets your kid create and develop a character (or avatar) and navigate with other avatars through a game world.
Massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs) are RPGs on steroids: they offer a massive, online immersive experience that continuously evolves and expands to keep players engaged. MMORPGs range from fairly simple virtual environments like Minecraft to complicated alternative realities like World of Warcraft.
According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, in 2020, 69 per cent of parents played video games with kids ages 6 to 12, and 60 per cent of parental gamers played games with their teens aged 13 to 17. Not surprisingly, those numbers went up during the pandemic.
Gaming together can:
Help parents and kids connect, relax, and spend more time together having fun
Help parents understand what their kids are doing online and choose appropriate games
Help parents become more comfortable with kids’ participation in the digital world.
Is online gaming safe for kids? That’s the question in most parents’ minds. Given that the vast majority of kids (not to mention most of their parents) are already playing, it’s helpful to reframe that question. Instead, ask yourself, “how can I help my kids game as safely as possible?” To do that, parents need to know the risks and have some tools in place to counter them.
Here are some common online safety risks parents need to be aware of:
Online games let children play and chat with gamers from around the world, sometimes dozens or hundreds of people at a time. And because gamers use avatars, players don’t necessarily know who they’re playing with. This might put kids’ privacy at risk or expose them to malware or risky links in games’ chat functions.
Again, because gaming lets kids chat with anyone else who’s playing, they may be exposed to inappropriate content, including cursing, racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks, or other offensive content. They may also come across offensive content in YouTube videos or the comments on the videos.
Gaming can open kids up to bullying (also known as “griefing”), as kids text and chat with each other during play. For example, other gamers might get angry at a teammate who makes a mistake, gang up on or kill a player within a game, or exclude kids from a game.
Many, if not most, games provide opportunities to buy extra elements during the game. Kids may spend more money than they mean to, or more than you feel is appropriate. They may not even know that they’ve made a purchase—until it shows up on your credit card.
Using digital devices can strain the eyes, cause neck and shoulder pain, and contribute to conditions like repetitive strain disorders or carpal tunnel syndrome. Kids who game a lot may have less time for healthy activities like exercise and may sacrifice sleep for more time to play.
continuing or escalating gaming even with negative consequences
Is my kid addicted to video games?
It’s important to note that the average kid who plays a lot of video games—even the average kid who plays “too many” video games—is not addicted. A diagnosis of online gaming addiction in adolescence would come only when gaming behaviours and patterns are severe enough to significantly impair “personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning” for at least 12 months. As well, there’s still a lot of strong disagreement among experts about what gaming addiction is and whether it should be included in the WHO’s list of diseases.
Even if your child isn’t officially addicted to games, it can certainly feel like gaming is taking up an unhealthy amount of their time, focus, and energy, or that it’s interfering with their health, happiness, education, or well-being.
How can I help my kids game safely?
Fortunately, there’s a lot that parents and caregivers can do to counter the risks of online gaming. Here are some tips:
Set boundaries and limits
One of the first sources to promote gaming safety are the games, platforms, and consoles themselves—most of which come with some great settings and safeguards that let parents set digital boundaries.
These controls can allow parents to:
Stay in charge of the types of games kids can play
Manage whether kids can communicate with others online and with whom
Prevent or require parental permission for in-app or in-game purchases
Limit the amount of time or the hours during which kids can play on a device.
What’s more, parental controls are often password-protected to make sure that kids can’t easily change them.
You can learn how to prevent or turn off in-app purchases on iOS devices and Google Play, as well as set up features like Apple’s “Ask to Buy,” which lets kids send a request to buy or download a new item to a parent.
The Mydoh app lets parents respond to kids’ purchases with emoji. In a pinch, parents can use the “Lock Card” feature to put a hold on any new purchases.
It’s always a good idea to make sure that you have robust and up-to-date antivirus software to catch any viruses or malware.
Like any other situation where groups of kids get together to play, online gaming can open kids up to bullying. Just like in real life, gamers can make fun of, insult, or exclude other players. And when gamers hide behind avatars, they might feel freer to say mean or inappropriate things.
There’s no easy way to prevent or “cure” bullying, especially as kids get older. It can help to:
Use parental controls on devices to limit the types of interactions kids are exposed to
Have them game in a public part of the house, and limit the use of headsets, so that you can see and hear what’s going on
Game with them
Talk to them early and often about the dangers of bullying and the importance of treating others kindly and with respect.
Let your kids know they can talk to you or a teacher or guidance counsellor if they’re being bullied or feeling unsafe online.
Many parents worry that gaming can have a negative effect on kids’ health. They worry about eye or muscle strain or the effects of sitting at a PC or gaming console for hours each day. It can help to:
Separate gaming from snacking: Kids (and adults) can get in the habit of mindlessly eating while playing online. Parents can help by limiting junk food, stocking the house with healthier options, and encouraging kids to leave the computer or console for nutritious meals and snacks. Many households have a “no device” policy at the dinner table.
To reduce eyestrain, gamers can try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, try to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
To protect sleep, learn about how many hours of shuteye your tween or teen needs each night (hint: 8–10 hours for 13–18-year-olds), and work with them to cut off game time before bedtime. Many households have a “no tech in the bedroom” policy. Others take advantage of settings on individual devices or the family modem or Wi-Fi plan to restrict devices to certain hours. Or, just unplug the modem (and keep it in your bedroom!) overnight.
To keep kids active: Encourage kids to take regular breaks to get moving or outside, on their own or with friends. Plan active, in-person activities for kids—both organized sports and unstructured time to hang out.
How to explain privacy risks to your kids
Protecting kids’ privacy is one of the parents’ top concerns when it comes to online gaming. Many parents are concerned that their kids are playing with and talking to strangers when they game and that they might be exposed to inappropriate content or language, taken in by online scams, or put themselves in harm’s way. Parents may also worry about radicalization in extreme cases, where young people are groomed and encouraged to support extreme ideological views.
Connecting with others is a feature of multiplayer games rated “mature” and targeted to adults and teens aged 13 and over. Parents can take advantage of the parental controls discussed above to restrict access to mature games and set limits on kids’ abilities to add friends.
One of the best things that parents can do is talk to kids regularly about the importance of privacy.
Online safety tips for teens
Kids of all ages should knownever to:
Give out personal information to anyone else—including their name, age, address, phone number, birthdate or other identifying details
Send photographs of themselves, family members, or friends to anyone online
Click on any links or open any files sent to them online
Agree to continue in-game chats on email, social media, or other platforms
Meet up with people who approach them online.
It can also help to remember that most people your kid might connect with online are there to have fun. Most are other kids. The strangers your teen is gaming with today may well be future friends or even colleagues in the global marketplace. With the right education, parental controls, and safety precautions in place, interacting with new folks online can be a positive part of the gaming world.
How to set boundaries with video games
It can be difficult to set clear boundaries around gaming. Unlike a half-hour TV show or even a 200-page book, many games are literally designed to go on forever. If a player dies or loses, they almost always have the option to restart or “respawn” and play again. And again. That’s part of the reason that online games are so compelling to kids, and why it can feel so hard to set up—and stick to—boundaries around gaming.
Tips to help set video game boundaries with your kids:
Talk with your kids about how much time they have to play each day and the games they can choose. Write down a family agreement that takes into account time limits and expectations that help prioritize sleep, school, exercise, family time, and face-to-face interactions.
Set up technology and parental controls to help enforce those limits. These tools can help you enforce your plan, and may result in less fighting: if it’s understood that devices or the Wi-Fi automatically shut off at a certain time on school nights, then you don’t have to argue about it every time.
Be patient. Understand that kids will naturally be reluctant to leave an exciting, immersive world, especially in the middle of a battle. And they may not be thrilled about limits on their time. That’s OK.
Talk with other parents. It can help to know that you’re not alone if you’re frustrated by or worried about your kids’ online gaming. Other parents may have helpful strategies.
The world of online gaming is new and evolves constantly. Similarly, your child’s world shifts all the time: new friends, new schools, new experiences. Keep up-to-date with what they’re playing, and play with them! Expect to update your gaming plan regularly.
Mydoh can help kids curb spending on in-app purchases and games
The Mydoh app and Smart Cash Card help parents and their teens manage money with complete oversight. Parents receive notifications when their kids use the Smart Cash Card to make purchases like online gaming subscriptions, in-app purchases, and more. Parents can have peace of mind in knowing they can see where their kids are spending. Mydoh provides teachable moments that can help tweens and teens develop the many skills they’ll need in an increasingly digital future.
There’s a popular topic in the heaps of parental contention: Should kids get paid for chores? And bigger still: Do you give allowance with no strings attached, or do you offer an earning structure by paying kids for chores that are done around the house?
There’s really no right or wrong way to introduce kids to an allowance—it’s about what works best for your family. Choosing an allowance method can also depend on the age and ability of your kids, your financial limitations, your family’s belief systems, and how many kids you have.
These factors may also dictate whether you choose a weekly allowance or a monthly allowance. To help you mine the facts and make an informed decision, we’ve outlined the differences between the two main allowance systems—chore-based and pure—highlighting the value that both bring to your kids and home.
What is a chore-based allowance?
Most of us probably remember getting paid to do chores. Maybe there was a chart to keep track of the number of mornings you made your bed, washed the dishes, or put away your laundry. The end of the week yielded a sort of payday from the Bank of Mom and Dad. (And how good did that feel?) But if you didn’t do your weekly chores? Too bad! No cash for you.
As an early introduction to working for pay, younger kids can start with easier daily chores like lining up their shoes by the door, making their bed, or putting their plate in the sink. Bigger kids might work a little harder by mowing the lawn, shovelling the driveway, washing the tub, or even making a meal once a week.
Besides the obvious introduction into the labour-driven economy, a chore-based allowance teaches kids to work for what they want, respect their time and effort, and understand their worth.
Older kids using the chore-based allowance method may want to negotiate the rate attached to tasks, which is an excellent skill to carry into adulthood. Extra-heavy snowfall? The cost of shovelling just went up, Mom.
What is a pure allowance?
Kids who aren’t motivated by money may think they can opt out of the chore-based allowance method. If this sounds like your brood, try a pure allowance. With this approach, kids will receive their allotted funds regardless of whether chores have been done or not.
To many parents, a pure allowance is money-forward thinking that exclusively teaches kids financial responsibility and management without the worry or pressure of earning it. That’s not to say your kid is exempt from chores and responsibilities. Parents who give pure allowance believe kids should pitch in not just for money but because it’s their duty as a family member.
What is the value of a pure allowance?
Financial intelligence is the overarching theme here. A child can budget and plan on a set amount of money when they receive the same weekly payout. From there, parents have an opportunity to teach budgeting, saving, and charitable giving.
A pure allowance also creates the narrative that chores and helping out around the house are expected responsibilities, not items to wager. This allowance method is especially great for younger kids who might need more hand-holding with chores and kids who don’t do well under pressure.
The hybrid approach to allowance
Some families prefer a hybrid of the two allowance methods. You might give a weekly allowance or monthly allowance that isn’t tied to household chores but offer kids the opportunity to earn extra money by helping out with certain tasks. They’ll be able to learn about financial literacy while also having the incentive to figure out how to make a few extra bucks.
6 benefits of choosing a chore-based allowance method
Whatever approach you choose, you’ll want to take your kids’ age and disposition into account. Tweens and teens, who are still learning the difference between wants vs. needs, will likely gain the most from the chore-based structure. Here’s why you might want to consider this allowance method for older kids.
1. It teaches accountability
Kids will get a hands-on understanding of the value of their time and a dollar. They’ll be held accountable for finishing a chore in order to get paid. This is applicable knowledge and practice for all future jobs and relationships with employers.
A chore-based allowance will help instil a sense of purpose and productivity in kids. The work-for-what-you-want mentality teaches them that their time is valuable and their money hard-earned. When it comes to future jobs, they’ll have respect for the effort it takes to complete each task, and hopefully, that equates to pride in their work. That’s the goal.
Whether it’s money or a privilege, kids love an incentive. If your child is especially money-driven, cash will be a win for them and their savings goals. But it’s also a win for parents, who will get a hand with their never-ending to-do lists.
4. It teaches good money habits and budgeting skills
Kids need to be exposed to money to understand it. Any allowance will teach kids good financial hygiene, including saving, budgeting, managing expenses, and accounting for charitable giving. You can also introduce important money lessons such as the concept of inflation and investment by opening a high-interest savings account, where their money can grow.
5. It empowers kids with a safe space to develop their skills
Because they’re learning and developing both job and money management skills, a chore-based allowance gives kids a safe place to make mistakes and ask questions. This will build confident spenders, investors, and employees.
6. You can use a chores app to track and pay allowance
No cash on hand? No problem. A chores and allowance app like Mydoh removes fumbling for change from the equation. Geared toward kids eight to 18, the parent-friendly app features a dual interface. One login is for parents to add and track chores, upload money, and find talking points on things like budgeting. The other is for kids to check off their completed chores, see their profits, track what chores are left to complete, and save for the items they really want!
Most importantly, kids can access their dough independently. Using a parent-monitored Smart Cash Card, they can spend their money in-store or online in real-time anywhere that accepts Visa.
Start your child on an allowance program that’s best for your family
Choosing an allowance method that works best for your family takes some consideration. But whatever approach you choose, your kids will have the benefit of learning about money management at an early age.
Who’s doing the majority of the daily chores in your house? If it’s you, and you’re a parent of tweens and teens, you may want to consider recruiting your kids to help out. After all, you aren’t creating the mess on your own. It’s only reasonable that everyone in the family pitches in to keep your home clean and orderly.
But getting your tweens and teens to help out with daily household chores can be a challenge. Paying them for tasks completed (a.k.a. an allowance) is a strong motivator—and a great way to teach kids about responsibility and the value of a dollar. Plus, when they earn their own money, they also learn about financial independence. Bonus: It’ll take a few things off your overflowing plate too. Win-win!
New to Mydoh? Mydoh is a digital wallet and Smart Cash Card for kids and teens. Kids can use it to earn money through tasks and make purchases in-store or online. Parents can monitor spending and activities. Mydoh teaches kids responsible money management and smart financial decisions. Download Mydoh and start your free trial.
What are daily chores?
Think about the tasks you do every single day to keep your household running. Many of them relate to making meals, general tidying, and cleanup (that endlessly full dishwasher needs constant attention). But there are also tasks that involve helping others to make sure everyone stays healthy and on schedule. Assistance with homework, pet care, and bathing younger kids all fall into this category.
It may seem overwhelming to itemize all the house chores you do every day, but when you clearly identify them, it makes it much easier for your tweens and teens to successfully get them done. It also helps kids realize just how much effort goes into maintaining a home and that if everyone chips in, the work can get done quicker and more easily.
Doing chores is part of growing up and helps kids prepare for adulthood. Research shows that children who do chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification. All these skills contribute to greater success in school and relationships.
Assigning daily tasks also gives kids a structured routine. If they’re having a particularly tough time at school or camp, coming home to complete a chore, no matter how simple, can give them a small boost of confidence every day.
Teens can perform practically any household chore that adults do. That said, you will need to provide direction and guidance as they learn how to do more intensive chores properly and safely.
Set kids up for success by showing them how to do a specific chore to your standards, then monitor their work to ensure they can do it on their own. For instance, your teen could start cooking one family dinner a week. Make the recipe together first, then, if necessary, leave instructions for them to carry out on their own the following week.
Some tweens may not be ready to cook a whole meal on their own, but they can do all the preparation, such as washing and peeling vegetables, filling a pot with water, and gathering and measuring ingredients.
If you’ve got one kid who fancies themselves a budding culinary star and another who enjoys sweeping up after meals, you can also assign jobs based on preferences. But if none of the kids are particularly jazzed about doing anything specific, you can rotate chores, so no one feels “stuck” doing a task they dislike all the time.
Some parents use chore charts and chore calendars to help the family keep track of who’s responsible for what jobs. These analog methods can work well for younger children, but it can be more effective to reach older kids through their devices.
That’s where you might want to search for chore apps for teens and tweens, like Mydoh. It’s a free money management app that offers a simple way to coordinate chore lists and pay out allowance. You can set up tasks as chores, track what’s been done, and pay for completed chores on Pay Day. You and your kids can see what’s on the list, so there’s no need to nag them about what to do and when (we all know how well that works, right?).
Mydoh helps you start money conversations with your tweens and teens
Daily chores for teens and tweens can be helpful for everyone in the family. And tying allowance to completed tasks is a good opportunity to start teaching financial literacy. Using Mydoh not only helps you track household chores but also gives your kids and teens hands-on experience with earning and spending.
No matter how you track daily chores, the most important thing is that everyone in the family understands how they can pitch in. Your kids’ future housemates and partners will thank you for it!
Download Mydoh to help your family build a chore-based allowance system at home.
If you’re a parent to tweens or teens, you probably understand what it feels like to be treated like a walking, talking, bank machine. While handing out $10 here, $20 there seems like no big deal; few of us want to be doing that for our kids when they’re 30 or 40, which is why it’s important to teach our kids to be financially independent.
One way parents can help teens and tweens to manage money is by helping them learn the difference between what they want and what they need.
Here are some suggestions on how to do just that.
What is the difference between needs and wants?
Needs are those items that are essential in our day-to-day life. Think of a roof over your head, sufficient food to eat, and clothing. Wants, however, are those nice-to-have items, which might translate into a bedroom with a private ensuite, an extra-large pepperoni pizza, or a pair of High-Tops.
While the fundamental difference between a want and a need is an easy enough concept to grasp, if your teen sees their friends with the newest iPhone or wearing a designer hoodie, they may tell you they “need” one too.
Needs and wants examples for kids
Examples of needs:
You can explain needs to your child by saying something like:
“Needs are things that are necessary for people to live a healthy and happy life. These include food, shelter, and clothing.”
Examples of wants:
You can explain wants to your child by saying something like:
“Wants are things that people want but don’t need. They include luxuries such as expensive cars or trips to the Bahamas.”
Why is it important to understand the difference between a need vs. want?
You’ve probably heard of the “marshmallow test.” Pioneered by Stanford University in the 1970s, it set out to study delayed gratification in children. If kids could distinguish between a need vs. something they want, they’ll be able to choose whether they want to delay that immediate gratification (one marshmallow) for a long-term reward (two marshmallows). Only instead of marshmallows or that new computer game, teens can keep their cash in their back pocket and save for a big-ticket item, like helping to pay for their education or buying their first car.
Understanding the difference between a need and a want is also the beginning of building real money skills. As they move into adulthood, tweens and teens can learn how to develop a budget and have the self-discipline to realize that paying the rent is a higher priority than an all-inclusive vacation with friends. They’ll also have the skills and to know how to save for that vacation while still covering their bills.
4 ways to teach the difference between a need vs. a want
Here are four tips on how to teach tweens and teens the difference between a want and a need.
1. Teach them the value of a dollar
At some point, your teen will have grown and flown. One way parents can help prepare them for that day (while also teaching them the difference between a want and a need) is to teach them how to make a budget.
You can even make the task more tangible by breaking out that game of Monopoly that’s gathering dust. Hand your child some Monopoly money and have them allocate it towards each category.
Have your teens see how far their money would go once the necessities are covered.
To make this exercise as real as possible, get teens to flip open their laptops and do some research. What’s the average salary for a 20-something in Canada? (Hint: It’s between $17,000 and $28,400 for a 20 to 24-year-old). Next, have them research how much rent will cost them. What about hydro? Cell phone? Transport? Groceries?
After their costs are spoken for, see how much money is left over. Have a conversation about how they’ve allocated their budget and whether any item on the list is actually a want, not a need.
When kids are surrounded by peers who seem to have everything they want, it’s hard to imagine that not everyone is as fortunate. Sadly, there are many families who experience food insecurity.
One way to help your teen learn the difference between what they want and what they actually need is to encourage them to volunteer and give back to others. It could be as simple as organizing a food drive around the neighbourhood. Teens could also volunteer to prepare meals at a shelter or offer to tutor younger kids through a local family charity if they’re academically inclined. If they’re stuck for ideas, the Pan-Canadian Volunteer Matching Platform has thousands of opportunities to give back.
Bonus: Teens who also need to bank volunteer hours as part of their high school curriculum, volunteering serves as double duty.
3. Empower your kids
While parents might take responsibility for certain needs, like haircuts, school supplies, and meals, give your teen the responsibility of paying for their own wants. Let kids cover the cost of those trips to the coffee shop or the latest video game. Not only does this empower them to make their own decisions and have money to spend as they see fit, but it also helps to break the cycle of kids constantly asking the Bank of Mom and Dad for cash.
If your teen already receives an allowance, consider giving them a monthly allowance instead of weekly. That way, they’ll also learn how to budget for what they want over a longer period.
4. Talk about money
If you grew up in a household where talking about finances was taboo, it isn’t always easy to be transparent with kids about money. When teaching teens the difference between a want and a need, start with what they know—or what they think they know.
Encourage tweens and teens to ask questions about finances. Have them reflect on their values. Is this an item they truly want or something all their friends have? If your teen wants a big-ticket item, like a new computer, encourage them to research the best choice for their needs, read product reviews, and compare prices before spending their cash.
Using a tool like the Smart Cash Card makes it even easier for teens to save for what they want (and need).
Kids and teens can earn a weekly allowance by completing tasks and then use their Smart Cash Card to make spending decisions independently. Parents have oversight and can facilitate conversions about better spending with their kids at the moment. It’s an excellent opportunity to discuss if a purchase your teen or tween wants to make is, in fact, a want or a need.
Give your kids the financial literacy tools to succeed
Teaching the difference between needs vs. wants is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. Whether you prefer cash or a card, allowing your teen to pay for needs and wants helps empower them to take charge of their finances as they move through life. Best of all, kids can use Mydoh as a way to make those purchases safely and securely.
Download Mydoh to make it easy for your kids and teens to gain real money skills.
Social media has grown to become an integral part of everyone’s daily life, irrespective of age. It’s become even more important during COVID-19. One of the more positive outcomes of the pandemic is that many teens and tweens have used social media to “snap” with their friends, post selfies, and create TikTok videos.
While there are benefits to tweens and teens joining social media (we’ll get to those later), as parents, it’s also essential to draw boundaries and understand the positive and negative impacts of social media.
So, If your tween or teen is already using social media or asking to join social media, here’s everything you need to know.
What is social media?
In simple terms, social media is any digital platform that allows people to share content easily. There have been quite a number of platforms around since the late ‘90s and early 2000s. According to Social Media Today, the first platform to be recognized as a social media tool was “Six Degrees,” founded in 1997. One of the more popular platforms we use in today’s world is Facebook, which was founded in 2004. Initially, Facebook was limited to Harvard students and later extended to users worldwide. Today, Facebook has 2.85 billion monthly active users, and the company has bought out other social media platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.
What are social media platforms used for?
While the main point of social media is to stay connected with people, it has developed over time to be used for other activities such as learning, creating an online presence for businesses, and digital marketing.
What are the main social media platforms?
Here are some of the common social media platforms that are used today:
Facebook is a popular social media platform amongst almost all age groups. It has features such as sharing pictures, albums, updates about your life, news articles, and even allows you to play games online with other friends on your list. The platform also has “Messenger,” a private message/direct message platform used to send private messages to friends on Facebook. A user must be 13 years or older to create a Facebook account.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and is a photo and video platform. It allows for photos and videos to be shared with users who follow you and to like and share content created by accounts you follow. It was originally designed because of the app creator’s love for photography. Its popularity grew over the years due to the ability to “instantly” share a photograph after capturing it. The minimum age to create an Instagram account is 13 years or older.
Twitter is commonly known as a microblogging site where thoughts are shared instantly. However, it has a limit of 280 characters in each tweet. The platform is popular with celebrities, news outlets, activists, politicians, businesses, and people in the entertainment industry who share news articles in quick, short snippets or engage in trending conversations. It also allows for instantaneous sharing of news through “retweets.” A person aged 13 or older can open an account on this platform.
TikTok is a video-sharing social platform where users can create and watch short videos ranging from 15 seconds to one minute. The app allows users to shoot and edit videos as well as add text, graphics, and filters. It first launched in September 2016 and since then has grown to have over 689 million active users. The minimum age of a user should be 13 or older to open a TikTok account.
Snapchat is popular for its feature of sending a picture that is available to the receiver for only a short period of time. According to Pocket Lint, it was designed this way to encourage continuity in the flow of interaction. Today, Snapchat can send short videos, video chat, send messages, and create avatars. It also has a feature that allows users to view stories on popular publications and news outlets. Users have to be aged 13 or older to open an account on this platform.
Pinterest is an online platform that allows users to “pin” ideas. It is largely a visual site that allows users to look at images, create boards, and pin images on these boards to create and share. Pinterest is popularly used to get inspiration for events like weddings, home design, food, and fashion. The minimum age requirement for a Pinterest user is 13 years old.
YouTube is an online video-sharing platform. It allows users to create their own channel and upload videos. Kids can watch videos, entertainment, subscribe to their favourite channels, and like and comment on videos. Users need to be 13 years old or older to create a YouTube account.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where people create a professional profile with their education and work history and references from people in their network. The platform is designed to look for jobs, internships, or professional opportunities and network online. Users need to be 14 or older to create a profile on LinkedIn.
WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, is a phone app that allows users to send messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, videos, documents, and other content. It works as a messaging service but needs an internet connection. Both the sender and receiver need to have the app installed on their phones. The app has an age restriction of 16 and above.
Clubhouse launched in March 2020, and the hype grew as it was an “invite-only” app. It is a platform that allows people to come together and have a discussion or listen in on a discussion that interests them, almost like a podcast or audio-chat social network. It does not have an age restriction, but most users are 18 years or older.
Wattpad is a platform for writers to publish their stories. It is also popular for fan-fiction writing about movies, shows and books, as well as a great website to discuss and rate books. The platform allows users aged 13 years or older to sign up.
Reddit is a content-sharing platform that allows users to share, rate, and discuss a variety of topics. The platform contains “subreddits.” These are topics and niches that people can subscribe to based on their interests. Subreddits vary with topics such as politics, science, questions, TV shows, movies, photography, and even geographical locations. Reddit has no age restriction, but it is encouraged that the user is 13 years or older as there are no parental control or safety features available.
Medium is an online publishing platform that allows users to share their writing on any topics of their choice. It is also a great source of articles from different streams of writing, such as poetry, news, comics, and personal experiences. The platform allows users aged 13 years and older to sign up.
Is social media safe for kids?
Social media is a big part of many people’s lives these days—especially teens’. Gen Z is the first generation to truly grow up as digital natives and sharing online has become a norm. Many people use social media platforms to share their art, writing, or other creative talents. And if used correctly, social media can open doors to many opportunities and learnings.
Where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. Sometimes, kids find themselves subjected to the negative side of social media. This includes exposure to inappropriate content and cyberbullying. However, this shouldn’t be a huge concern for parents if you talk to your teens and oversee their social media use.
It is also a good opportunity to educate tweens and teens about cyberbullying and engage in conversation about what is and isn’t appropriate content.
Teens and tweens are at the age where they don’t really want parents hovering over their activity—both offline and on social media. However, as a parent, you can leverage some parental control options. While it’s important to know what your kids are posting, you also want to know who is contacting them. Here are some ways can monitor your teens’ social media activity without resorting to helicopter parenting:
Add them to your accounts
Be honest with your kids. If you want to see what they are doing on their profiles, add them as your friend or follow them. You can monitor what your tweens and teens are posting and take the opportunity to understand and discuss their likes and dislikes.
Have open conversations
Engage with your teens offline too. Have conversations about anything and everything, ensuring they know that this is a judgement zone. This will encourage tweens and teens to talk more freely about any issues that may arise when they’re using social media.
Monitor their history
This can be done every once in a while. Check your kids’ social media history or their browsing history to see what they searched for. This can help you understand if your teen or tween is going through anything that you may be able to help with.
Have rules for using social media
There are apps out there that allow you to do this, but you can also treat your kid as a responsible young adult and set certain rules on social media usage. You can have time limits on usage, what kind of accounts they are allowed to follow, only accept follow requests from people they know, and what things they should tell you about.
How to explain privacy risks to your kids
In order for tweens and teens to understand why you want to oversee their social media activity, it’s important to explain where you are coming from. It’s helpful to take the time to have an open conversation with them about social media privacy risks, how they happen, and what they need to look out for when using social media.
Privacy risk is the potential loss of or control over personal information. This can be done through hacks, suspicious emails, suspicious links, or direct conversations with people asking unusual questions. Here are some tips to help your kids understand privacy risks:
Keep your personal information private
Never share passwords with anyone (other than parents), and change your passwords often. If someone asks for personal information online, don’t share anything such as your home address, school, or phone number, unless it’s someone they know personally. Never share bank information or information about other family members. If your teen gets a friend request or follow from someone they don’t know, they shouldn’t accept it.
Explain that nothing is temporary
People can take screenshots of anything they see. For example, even though Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours or Snapchat messages disappear, someone can still take a screenshot, save them, and share them with others.
Communicate with parents
If something feels off, suspicious, uncomfortable, or fishy, encourage your kids to share it with you or a teacher.
Turn off GPS tracking
If your kids use a GPS-enabled smartphone or tablet, they could be posting status updates, photos and videos with “geotags.” Geotags share the exact location of where your photo was taken. Make sure these are turned off on devices in the privacy settings on their device.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place in a digital space. This can be through social media, text messages, online gaming, and more. According to Broadband Search, “Sixty per cent of teenagers have experienced some sort of cyberbullying.” Cyberbullying can result in mental health issues, social anxiety, a dip in academic performance, or more aggressive behaviour.
As parents, you want the best for your kids, and you don’t want to see them subjected to any form of bullying. Here are some suggestions on how to prevent cyberbullying or how to navigate it if your teen is targeted:
Go through your kid’s contact lists with them
Sit with your tween or teen and have them take you through their contact lists on their phone, social media platforms, even emails. Have them tell you who each person is, how they know each other, and what kind of relationship they have. Do this regularly to ensure everything is going well.
Talk to your kids about cyberbullying
Explain the concept of cyberbullying and how your kids should talk to you if anything happens. Do this regularly as well, so that they feel comfortable coming to you if they need to. Also, ensure your teen or tween that if they are cyberbullied, it is not their fault.
Familiarize yourself with social media apps
While you may be aware of the various social media apps available, it’s important that parents know how to navigate them as well. Educate yourself on which social media apps are popular with teens and tweens and how to use them. You could even ask your kids to walk you through them.
Understanding social media addiction
There are many concerns that come with teens and tweens using social media. One of them is addiction. To quote the film, The Social Dilemma, there are two industries that talk about “users:” social media and drugs. As a user of something, it can get addictive. This is why it’s important for parents to look out for how, when, and why addiction to social media can occur.
One of the common signs to look out for when your kids start using social media is how often they check their phones. If they are constantly glued to their phone, go to bed looking at their social media, or want to do things just to post about it on social media, it’s time to have a chat with them. You can set boundaries by having limited screen time by locking social media apps or their smartphone after a certain time limit has been reached.
Alternatively, some teens get addicted to social media because of social anxiety or as a way of managing stress and self-esteem. Social media is a powerful tool and can bring up issues around body image, skin colour, and even certain interests. Your teen may be getting addicted to social media in order to feel a sense of belonging. In this case, it is important to have a conversation about the issues mentioned above in a more positive light. Talk about body positivity, embracing yourself for who you are, and appreciating any talents your child has.
How to set boundaries with social media use
In light of the power and addictive qualities of social media, the parent should consider setting a few boundaries when it comes to your kids’ social media use:
Manage teens’ screen-time
Social media is a tool. Not a part of your tween or teen’s entire day. Reach an agreed amount of time your teen can engage in social media. This could be per day or per week. Then, set up a timer on their phone, making sure your kids can’t unlock it.
Put limits on when they can access social media
While parents can put a time limit on how long their teen or tween is engaging on social media, they can also put limits on screen time—for example, having a family rule of no screens during meals, family time, events, and before bed.
Ask for approval on downloads
For the safety and privacy of your teen’s information, it’s important you have them check with you before downloading any games or apps. While it helps to set boundaries on their social media use, it’s also a good opportunity to explain the privacy risk of downloading unknown apps.
Model good behaviour
Teens and kids tend to model the behaviour of their parents—or, at the least, call parents out for flaunting their own rules. So set a good example and make sure you’re not looking at your screen during the times you’ve asked your kids not to.
Make a contract
Consider having a “social media contract” with your kids, which you both can actually sign. This way, your teen feels more responsible. If you give your kids a chance to weigh in on what the contract contains, it’ll also feel fairer to them.
10 benefits of social media for kids
Social media can have its disadvantages, but there are many benefits for teens as well. It is just like the real world—there is the good and the bad—it depends on how you navigate it. Here are ten benefits of social media for tweens and teens:
1. Encourages independent and collaborative learning
Some social media platforms encourage constructive discussions in groups. For example, Facebook has restricted groups for school activities, mutual interests, and networking that are monitored and helpful for collaborative learning. In addition, tweens and teens can follow and learn from their mentors, such as their favourite athlete or author.
2. Helps connect with others
Back in the day, we had pen pals. Today, we can see and understand how someone across the world lives. The power of social media enables us to learn about other cultures and traditions, resulting in some powerful connections and beautiful friendships.
3. A great way to keep in touch with distant family and friends
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow us to keep in touch with family and friends around the world. Kids can jump on a video call with them and see them, even if it is digitally. This is a great way to encourage your teens to still stay connected with extended family.
4. Reduces feelings of isolation
The ability to stay connected with friends and family through a small device can be reassuring at times, especially during the pandemic. While it is important for your teens to express how they feel to you, they may feel like venting their feelings through a creative outlet, like watching a video or listening to a podcast.
5. Opportunity to get involved in volunteering and community
Social media has been a powerful enabler of many social issues, such as climate change. Your child can use digital platforms to understand these concerns and maybe even volunteer at a few organizations that help address social challenges. It also helps teens and tweens understand the world they are growing up in.
6. Personal expression
Some people like to use social media platforms to showcase their work, such as artwork, poetry, music, or writing. Your teen could use their profile as a form of personal expression to do this.
7. Digital media literacy
With the world becoming more digital, social media is a great way for young people to learn how to communicate online and use these platforms for different purposes. Additionally, some of these platforms are great sources of information and news, such as Reddit and Twitter.
8. Helps them become more culturally aware
With the many social issues going on around the world, social media is a great source to see how different geographies are tackling these challenges. Furthermore, kids can use social media to understand different cultures and perspectives through YouTube videos or by following relevant users who share more information about their culture.
9. Can strengthen friendships
According to Very Well Family, 52 per cent of teens felt that social media improved their friendships. Adolescence is a time when friendships are strong and meaningful. Social media can help enhance this through shared memories, common interests, and keeping in touch via texting and video chats.
10. Helps build confidence
By communicating and connecting with so many different people, social media helps give kids the confidence they need to communicate effectively. Sharing their thoughts on social media can encourage them to share ideas in person, too. Additionally, sharing their talents online, such as artwork, music, or makeup, can yield a positive reaction. This can help teens feel more confident to share their art or perform their music in person too.
Mydoh helps kids gain real-world experience
Many parents worry about the implications of using social media at a young age. You want your kids to be independent and confident, which allows them to make smart decisions online. This is where a platform like Mydoh can help. Mydoh helps kids learn money skills and practice them safely in the real world, and parents get complete oversight. It helps your child understand the importance of money management and gives them the confidence to make better spending decisions. And mastering this still can translate to other areas of their life—including social media.
Social media is a world of possibilities. It is something that tweens and teens are growing up with. That’s why it’s important they understand the positive and negative impacts of using the different online platforms.
As parents, it is very normal to be concerned about our kids’ online activity. However, with the right amount of monitoring, social media can be a good experience. It’s an opportunity for your kids to make friends, discover new music, learn about other cultures, have video calls with family, and learn more about the world.
Download Mydoh to help your kids learn, earn and save while making smart decisions.
For people who don’t know Mydoh, it’s a fresh, new way for parents to help their kids understand the whole “money thing.” The Mydoh app is innovative, fun and easy to use. And we needed a visual brand identity that could convey that to all the new people we’ll be meeting. A brand identity is the visual expression of a brand. It conveys who you are, what you do and what you stand for. Think of the logos of brands you already connect with.
Here’s a little background. With Mydoh, parents can set tasks, their kids do the tasks, and they get paid—for doing the tasks! All in the app (well, except for the task-doing part). When kids start earning their own money, it can change how they think about money—and how they spend money.
That’s where the Smart Cash Card comes in. It’s both a digital and physical cash card that allows kids to check their balance and see any earnings they have coming in before making difficult purchase decisions online and in-store (up to the allowable limits): Like, do you get a large or small frozen mocha fantasy, with or without whipped cream—and what about sprinkles? It can add up.
Mydoh also gives kids a head start in financial literacy, with easy, fun trivia on topics ranging from how to make a budget, which can solve the whipped cream dilemma and help kids plan for future purchases.
As a parent, you can coach, guide or just keep an eye on things. You can track your kids’ spending activity and react with emojis 👍 . Plus, you can lock and unlock their Smart Cash Cards at any time from the app. Basically, Mydoh empowers parents to help the next generation master money skills.
That’s a lot to fit in a logo!
We turned to the Strategic Design group at RBC Ventures to capture the energy and personality of Mydoh and squeeze it all into a snappy new brand ID. We chatted with some of the creators and asked them about the branding process and how we got where we are today.
Hector: The Mydoh rebrand project was personal to me. As the parent of a teenager and part of a family that actually uses the product, the branding would have to resonate with me. I was also lucky to have my own consumer test audience with my son. I bounced ideas off him and shared progress along the way.
Our team at SD comprises highly talented strategists, creative directors, writers and designers who are passionate about creating something truly special. The creative exploration process took us to many different visual territories. We eventually landed on a kind of ’90s nostalgia vibe. The colours are bright, the typography is bold, the photography is real, the illustrations are quirky, and the overall feeling is confident, fun and positive. This approach resonated with the whole team, parents and kids included, and I’m very excited about the results.
Peter: The logo or wordmark is the keystone in our visual design system. It’s the main way people identify a brand. We wanted a logo that would be noticed. We chose a really heavy weight for the font and then customized it to make it even chunkier. Black is the anchor colour of the MYDOH logo, and it sets our brand apart, but the colour is an important part of the rebrand. Neon colours really help the logo pop!
The MY part of MYDOH is open and acts as a window or blank canvas. We can see colour and action through it or fill it with paint strokes or scribbles. Mydoh is a bold, energetic brand that welcomes everyone. And, I think we’ve landed on a wordmark that really conveys that.
Lionel: They didn’t teach money skills in school when I was a kid, so I was really intrigued by the financial literacy aspect of the Mydoh app. The fact that Mydoh makes it easy for kids to learn by doing—making decisions and maybe even making mistakes and course-correcting—is so important. That’s how you build a financial foundation. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Mydoh is a new way of thinking about money in a brand new category. It was critically important that what we created would be original and ownable and that the Mydoh look and feel and brand voice would be distinct and memorable. We had to be bold, approachable, engaging and inviting. Whether we’re talking about our in-app journey or a YouTube ad campaign, Mydoh had to stand out and stand apart as a truly unique brand.
Angela: The imagery we use says a lot about us as a brand. So, we’ve been very thoughtful in selecting who we show and how we present them. The parents and kids in our shots are from a truly diverse range of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds and represent varying abilities. Our diversity is genuine and honest, and the kids are truly individual. We want to capture familiar, relatable, real-life moments.
I’m an aunt to a couple of teenagers, so I see the real money conversations that my sister and her husband have with my nephews; parents and kids negotiating, working together and building a stronger relationship. Mydoh understands the needs of parents and kids, and our imagery needs to do the same. The look has to be of the moment, relevant and real.
Tadeu: On my first day at Ventures, I joined the Mydoh rebrand team and started bringing the illustrations and animations to life. Illustrations help with storytelling and become a key part of our visual language. They support messaging across the application, emails, social media, website and advertising.
Whether we’re talking about finances or food, they help express our fun, energetic personality. Fast-paced animations are colourful, energetic, and, you guessed it—fun! Wherever people meet Mydoh, they’ll have the same holistic experience.
My daughter is still young, but I’d really like her to have good financial skills when she grows up. I can see how Mydoh facilitates money talks with parents and kids, bringing them together and reducing stress. Our new brand captures the personality of Mydoh, and I hope that parents and kids recognize our enthusiastic, empathetic voice: You can trust Mydoh to help you help your kids learn about money. I look forward to helping my daughter with Mydoh of the future.
Going from the relaxed summer vacation to setting an early morning alarm can be a real challenge! But establishing a daily routine for your kids helps take the stress out of back-to-school season. Here are some ways to create healthy routines and set your kids and teens up for success as they embark on the new school year.
Establish a daily routine with expectations defined
We spoke with Mardi Ennis-Gregory, a Family Service Coordinator, about how parents can help set their teens up for success. She has had over 20 years of experience working with adolescents and their families. She suggests that parents start with remembering what worked with their kids in the past. “When setting up rules and expectations, parents also need to be on the same page,” she says.
Questions parents should ask themselves to help build a daily routine for their kids:
What time do your kids need to be out the door to get to school?
What do teens need to do in the morning before anything else, like watching TV, can happen?
Will your teen be responsible for making their lunches and/or breakfast?
What time do they need to wake to get ready?
Ask your kids: what do they like to eat? What are some healthy options they can have on hand? Then create a weekly snack and lunch list.
Once parents have brainstormed expectations about what needs to happen in the morning, they can also involve their kids in setting expectations around routines, sleep, downtime, and family chores.
“Come up with a plan before you talk to the kids. They’re already worried,” says Mardi. “They’re overwhelmed thinking about going back to school and a world they’ve been sheltered from for a long time.”
Bedtime routine for kids and teens
Sleep is so important, especially for tweens and teens. Teens’ bodies and minds are growing quickly, and sleep helps fuel that. While it’s important for teens to get enough sleep, one of the biggest disruptors to sleep is screens. Mardi suggests parents encourage kids to keep screens out of their bedrooms at night. “Kids gaming all night will have a hard time getting up for school the next day,” she says.
Of course, it’s not only gaming that’s keeping teens up at night. “There are group texts going on at one and two in the morning,” says Mardi. “And kids don’t want to feel left out.” In cases like this, she recommends parents have a conversation with their kids. It’s important for parents to set limits.
Finally, parents can also help their kids by modelling good behaviour. This means walking the walk and swapping scrolling through Instagram late for reading a book.
Tips for good sleep routines for kids:
Set a consistent sleep schedule
Switch off screens an hour before bedtime and charge phones outside the bedroom
If your teen is unwilling to switch off from technology, look into tools that switch off the Wi-Fi or shut down iPhones and iPads
Make sure their bedroom is cool and comfortable.
Instead of setting the alarm on a smartphone, use a sunrise alarm clock
Incorporate physical activity
Pace homework, so kids aren’t up late cramming at the last minute
Morning routines for teens
If your kid is used to waking up, rolling out of bed and flipping open their Chromebook to start class, then getting ready in the morning and leaving the house for school might feel like a Herculean task.
“Part of setting up for success in the mornings begins the night before,” says Mardi. She suggests school bags are emptied the night before and put away in a dedicated spot, so teens aren’t scrambling to find things.
Tips for morning routine for kids:
Although it’s so easy to press snooze, have your teen wake up when the alarm goes off
Eat breakfast. Ideally, eat a meal that combines protein and complex carbs. Or mix up a smoothie with milk, fruit, and added protein and drink it on the go.
If your teen doesn’t have time in the morning to make lunch, have them pack snacks and make lunch the night before
Shower or bath the night before to save time in the morning
Have them lay out the clothes they want to wear the night before
For kids who struggle with executive function, parents may want to create a list for them to check off (e.g. pack lunch, homework, water bottle, and a clean mask).
After school routines for teens
When it comes to an after-school routine, Mardi says it’s not a case of one size fits all. “We know our children, so reading their cues and understanding their needs is important,” she adds. Mardi also suggests there is a clear transition between school and home. “If your child has held it together all day, they probably need some downtime first.”
Tips for after school routine for kids:
Empty school bag, including lunch box and homework, and put school bag away
Grab a snack before moving on to a new activity
Build in some downtime before moving onto homework or daily chores
Have a quiet, distraction-free space for kids to do their homework
Include physical activity. It can be as simple as adding more steps to their day by walking to/from school (or part of the way) and tracking their steps.
Keep children physically active
For some kids, downtime means watching Netflix, while for others, it’s letting off steam by running around outside if that’s your child—great!
“Encourage outdoor time with friends,” says Mardi. “Make it part of a structured routine.” If your teen isn’t the type to shoot a few hoops or go for a bike ride, there are still other ways they can add physical activity into their day. “Have conversations with your teens about keeping your body moving,” says Mardi. “And create a plan together.”
Assign weekly and daily household chores
Why are chores important for kids?
“We all have a responsibility in our house,” explains Mardi. “It’s a collective unit. Chores are just a natural extension of that.” It’s important our kids learn responsibility. And chores are a way for teens to do just that. There’s also plenty of research about chores and children to explain that chores can lead to greater success in school, work, and relationships. Chores for teenagers can also be a good way for them to learn about the value of money and earn a bit of extra cash for spending.
How to set realistic expectations around household chores
Weekdays can be hectic for families, so scheduling more labour-intensive household chores on the weekend means your teens are more likely to be successful. “Every Saturday morning, my kids clean their room,” explains Mardi. “It’s part of their routine. It doesn’t matter what time, but the expectation is that it’s done before they do something else.”
When it comes to giving teens chores, it’s also important to involve them in the process. Mardi suggests parents ask their kids:
What chores do you want to do?
What chores would you rather not do?
What can you manage to do during the week?
Which chores do you want to save for the weekend?
For chores like making dinner once a week, which night do they plan to cook?
Build daily routines slowly
Remember, for many kids, fall isn’t just about transitioning back into a routine, it’s also transitioning back to the classroom. If your kids weren’t doing chores in the summer, Mardi suggests parents wait a couple of weeks for them to settle back into school, then add in chores. It’s likely your kids are going to be cranky and tired at the beginning of the school year. As parents, understanding this makes it easier to walk away and not engage. Kids and teens need time to transition. That’s why it’s important to start slowly, so you can set your kids up for success.
Track chores and help teens learn the value of a dollar
Using an app to track chores is convenient for managing tasks, especially if your family spends lots of time on their phones and devices. Mydoh helps kids and teenagers develop real-life money skills early while giving parents transparency and peace of mind. Parents can assign chores that allow kids and teenagers to earn money through allowance, which can be accessed using their Smart Card for desired purchases. Parents stay involved by tracking their spending and checking their balances, all in real-time.
Get the Mydoh app and start assigning chores to your kids! It helps them earn money and teaches them responsibility by doing household tasks. Plus, you can track their progress easily.
Most parents want to foster resilience and a “pitch-in” attitude in their kids and know that getting them to contribute to household chores is a great way to do that. But in reality, the hassle of nagging kids for help can feel like more effort than it’s worth.
That is unless there’s a plan in place to consistently manage chores for teens and kids, as well as a way to reward them for a job well done.
Here’s everything you need to know about age-appropriate chores for kids and teens and how to challenge kids in a collaborative way that benefits everyone in the family.
Are chores good or bad?
For adults, chores are just part of the daily grind of managing a household. For kids, they’re there to teach them important life skills and how to be productive members of the family. But kids are often busy enough just being kids, and parents sometimes wonder what children gain by doing routine tasks like cleaning the house or taking out the trash. The answer is a lot!
In fact, research shows that parents who let kids skip housework could actually be doing them a disservice by completing tasks for their children that they can do for themselves. Kids also learn to take pride in their work when they see the contribution they make. A long-running Harvard study found that people who did more chores in childhood are happier later in life.
How does responsibility differ between a 10- and a 13-year old? At what age can a child do laundry or cook an entire meal? When choosing the right chores for teens and tweens, make sure they’re developmentally and age-appropriate.
Also, keep in mind that every child is different, and what they’re capable of will vary. Consider maturity and physical ability, as well as their own strengths and interests.
As kids get older, they can keep building on the same chores list, so tweens and teens can still do chores they did when they were younger, such as make their beds or set and clear the table. But now they’re ready to do more heavy lifting (both literally and figuratively), like sweaty yardwork, meal prep, or babysitting younger siblings.
Only you know what your child is capable of, but if you’re unsure, it’s never a bad idea to help them do a few dry runs. When taking on new chores for the first time, even older kids may need several tries to get it right. And praise them generously to build that positive momentum. Remember that, most of the time, “done is better than perfect.”
The best chore ideas for kids
Children of this age appreciate a schedule, structure, and clear expectations. By the time most kids are 10 to 12 years old, they should (hopefully) be in the habit of doing routine house chores. Besides looking after their own rooms and messes, they can also help out with tasks like folding and putting away clothes, sweeping or vacuuming the floors, and preparing their school lunches.
They’re also ready for even more responsibilities, like loading and unloading the washer and dryer, cleaning the bathroom, and making easy meals.
Under proper supervision, older tweens can start more physically and technically challenging tasks like mowing the lawn—provided they follow safety guidelines. It’s also a good time to embrace their interests when delegating chores. If your kid enjoys cooking, they can start using the oven and stove to make easy dinners. If that feels like too much, they can help with meal prep (like washing veggies and measuring and chopping ingredients) instead.
Here is a list of the best chores for tweens (ages 8-12):
Clean own room
Change bed linens
Mow lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow
Cook easy meals (using oven and stove)
Set and clear the table
Load and unload the dishwasher
Sweep, vacuum and mop floors
Feed and walk pets
The best chore ideas for teens
Most teenagers are capable of handling nearly any household chore, even those requiring more attention to detail (like organizing the pantry or assisting with grocery shopping), as long as they’re given enough direction. They’re also old enough to take on more serious responsibilities, like babysitting younger siblings.
But just because they can technically do anything around the house, it doesn’t mean they should do it all or more than their fair share. Be mindful of what else they have on their plate, such as school assignments and extracurricular activities, and get their buy-in on the chore list ahead of time. Incentives—such as a weekly or monthly allowance—are super effective at this age.
Here are some household chores and responsibilities for teenagers (ages 13-18):
Complete simple home repairs (such as paint touch-ups or changing light bulbs)
Replace vacuum cleaner bags
Wash and vacuum car
Make grocery lists
Help with shopping
Babysit younger siblings
Run errands (such as dropping off dry cleaning)
Seasonal chore ideas for kids and teens
You might want to add extra seasonal tasks to your kids’ chore list to give them the chance to earn extra money, like washing patio furniture, salting the walkway, and weeding the garden.
Mydoh helps parents track chores with complete oversight
Now that you have a better idea of what types of house chores your tween or teen should do, you need a system to make it stick. Some parents employ a chore chart for teenagers and tweens, but an allowance app might be more appropriate for kids who use their phones a lot in everyday life.
Mydoh is a money management and Smart Cash Card that lets parents assign tasks, track them, and pay kids for completed chores. Some parents are wary of tying allowance to chores because they believe the goal of chores should be teamwork and personal accomplishment, but others recognize the upsides of financial incentives.
Mydoh brings financial literacy to the forefront by teaching kids about earning and managing their money. By seeing their allowance add up in real-time, teens and tweens can decide whether to save it or spend it wisely using their Mydoh Smart Cash Card, which you can monitor through your own parent account. By giving parents complete oversight, Mydoh encourages families to have real money conversations at home, so kids can continue learning and growing with their spending and creating better saving habits.
The value in chore building for kids and teens
It might take some coaxing to get the kids on board to help out with household chores, but the effort is worth it. They’ll learn important life skills, including what it takes to keep a house running smoothly, how to take pride in a job well done, and how to care for other members of the family. (And you’ll get a much-deserved break!) If the chores are tied to an allowance, kids and teens will learn about money management too.
Learn more about Mydoh and how it can help your kids build healthy money habits early in life.
Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app that burst onto the social media scene in 2011 and quickly became a favourite among teens and tweens. In 2020, the app counted over 280 million daily users. Teens and tweens love Snapchat’s more casual feel as opposed to, say, Instagram’s more curated and aspirational aesthetic. They also like that images and videos are only available for recipients to view for a short time before they disappear (more on this later). Confused? Not to worry. Here’s everything parents need to know about Snapchat and whether it’s safe for teens and tweens.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is an iOS and Android mobile app that allows users to send messages, photos, and videos that are supposed to disappear after a short time. Its non-permanent nature drew younger users to the app because they could share content without it remaining on their profile afterwards. Although, as we’ll discuss later, nothing ever really disappears on the internet. Snapchat now also includes live video chatting, anime-like “Bitmoji” avatars, augmented reality (AR) lenses, original video series, and the ability to share chronological stories with followers. If the “story” feature sounds familiar, it may be because it was famously cloned by Instagram. Snapchat is known to frequently update its features, so it’s likely these capabilities can and will change.
How does Snapchat work?
As mentioned above, Snapchat updates its features and functionality even more frequently than other social media apps, so it’s difficult to create a permanent guide on how to use it. That said, here are some basics around how Snapchat works:
To get started, your child will download Snapchat from your mobile phone’s app store. Open the app and click “sign up” to create a new account. They’ll be asked to enter your name, create a unique username, and choose a secure password. Kids should also enter a phone number and verify it for account security, and they can choose whether to give Snapchat access to their contact book to help find friends and family already on the app.
The app contains a camera screen similar to your phone’s regular camera screen with a capture button at the bottom. Your kids use this to take photos or videos in the app, which they can then share privately with individual or group contacts, post to your story, save as a memory to view later, or download to their camera roll. Before sharing or saving content, your kids have the chance to decorate their photo or video with text, special effects, doodles, stickers, links, and more.
When your teen or tween takes a “snap” (the app’s in-house term for photos or videos), they’ll also be able to flip through a variety of lenses (filters) and apply them before taking a photo. Lenses can do everything from giving photos a retro feel to making your kids look like a cartoon dog or project augmented reality animations onto their screen.
What are the types of content on Snapchat?
Here are the 5 main types of content kids can share on the Snapchat app:
Chats on Snapchat can be between individuals or groups of contacts. They can contain text, photos, and videos, and be set to disappear after a chosen length of time. That said, it’s important to remember someone could always take a screenshot or photo/video of your child’s content before it disappears, so don’t count on it truly being gone forever.
Discover is Snapchat’s version of the newsfeed. On it, are select stories from people your child follows alongside content from popular influencers, celebrities, brands, and publishing partners, such as new sites and sports channels.
Memories are snaps and stories your teen or tween can choose to save for later rather than send to friends or post right away. They won’t disappear and they can reopen them at any time to edit or review.
Snapstreaks keep track of how many consecutive days two users have sent content to each other on the app. To extend the streak, both parties must share a snap that day.
5. Snap Map
Snap Map allows kids to view snaps submitted from all over the world, including ones tagged to specific sporting events, concerts, celebrations, breaking news, and more. They can also use Snap Map to see what’s happening near their current location and which of their friends is nearby.
Snap Map is a feature parents will want to discuss with kids and teens as it can reveal a user’s current or recent locations. The default setting is “ghost,” which means Snapchat doesn’t share their location, but many teens and tweens like to turn it on to track their friends.
Snapchat isn’t appropriate for kids, but it can be used relatively safely by older tweens and teens with varying degrees of parental supervision.
The biggest concerns about Snapchat for teens and tweens relate to privacy and the ability to share and receive inappropriate content that can be difficult to monitor if it’s set to disappear. If your kids use Snapchat, it’s good to have a conversation about the types of photos and videos that are okay to share and the fact that nothing ever really disappears online.
According to Snapchat’s rules, a user must be at least 13 years old to use the app. However, as with most social media platforms, this age requirement is easily circumvented.
Can Snapchat be monitored by parents?
Monitoring your kids’ activity on Snapchat can be more difficult than on other social media apps (which is part of why teens and tweens like it so much). This is because much of Snapchat’s content is shared in private messages or groups and quickly self-destructs. There’s no way to be sure you’re seeing all of your kids’ activity, even if you frequently check their account.
The main way parents can make Snapchat safer is to set strong privacy controls that restrict who can see kids’ stories and locations. Outside of close family and friends, tweens and teens shouldn’t be sharing their location at all.
Snapchat’s mental health effects on youth
Some research has shown Snapchat could be a trigger for anxiety and depression, particularly for kids who use it over two hours a day. Both girls and boys are also at risk of body image issues from seeing heavily filtered photos and videos and pressure to look “good” in snaps. Cyberbullying is also a potential issue and can easily go unnoticed by parents, since messages can quickly disappear.
At the same time, Snapchat can have a positive effect on mental health, like boosting creativity, encouraging kids to build and maintain friendships (especially during the COVID-19 era), and using it as a fun means of stress relief. Since snaps aren’t permanent on the app, many teens and tweens feel freer to show their silly and quirky sides.
Parents can easily interact with their teens and tweens on the app by adding them as a friend. This will allow you to send snaps to each other and build a Snapstreak, which can be a fun form of bonding. You can also have fun playing with different lenses and effects together and capturing content on family outings.
Snapchat and online safety tips
Here are some tips for keeping your kids safe on Snapchat:
Check your kids’ privacy settings
Help your kids set a strong password
Verify your child’s email and phone number in the app
Set up two-factor (2FA) authentication
Discuss keeping contacts to family and friends
Show your kids how to report abuse on Snapchat and encourage them to come to you with anything that upsets or scares them
Set your kids’ Snap Map setting to “ghost”
Don’t forget about screenshots. Remind your kids that anything posted online is forever.
Snapchat can be a fun app for teens and tweens to connect with friends and express their more creative side. But, like all social media apps, it comes with risks. It’s important for parents to speak with their kids about the potential dangers of Snapchat and how to use it safely.