Moms driving into a large city is the same kind of danger and opportunity that faces young people when they bring themselves into the wide world of social media.
Mothers can drive themselves into the city to go meet up with friends at restaurants, shop for bargains for the family, and take their children to activities without being mugged, run-over, or assaulted. How is that possible? That is because they are going into the city with a purpose, meeting up with safe friends, and avoiding unsavory dangerous parts of town. Rarely does a mother feel the temptation to get out and go for a walk in a gang-infested part of a town and try to strike up a conversation with someone who has underwear hanging out over their pants. (if you are a mother and you do you feel that temptation, chances are you are not reading this blog anyway).
It is the same with young people on social media. If they engage in communities on the Internet around a particular purpose, there is little danger. The more they engage with the right people and communities early on, with some helpful pointers from parents on how to avoid the danger spots of the Internet, the more they will instinctively recognize good, healthy, and productive environments. They will correctly “socialize” themselves into the right environment. This is the same kind of guidance as you give when you are teaching them to drive on their own.
This is how you should approach the Internet when giving guidance to young people. Older teenagers need to start shopping, taking care of errands, and communicating with people in their talent world on the Internet, just as they would in real life. Just as in real life, you can set Internet curfews, off limits parts of the Internet world, and give instructions about not having certain friends not being allowed to just hang out with you. If you start the guidance when they are still young, they will be ready to handle the Internet all on their own when they are eighteen.