For almost all preteens and teens, social media is an integral part of daily life. With Facebook, Instagram and Twitter only a tap away, today’s young people are living their lives online. While some experts argue that some social media usage can be good because it enhances communication skills, access to knowledge and helps in improving self-awareness, it’s critical to ensure that your child is monitored and protected online. Here are some quick tips to make sure your child’s online experience is not only social, but also safe.
Here’s a little-known fact about Facebook — no one under the age of 13 is permitted to create their own account. But technically, there’s no real way for Facebook to enforce this rule. Anyone can make up whatever birthday they want and boom — they’ve got an account. So ultimately, it’s up to you to keep watch and ensure that your kids aren’t using social media before they should.
Every social networking site offers the ability to share as much or as little profile information as you would like. For maximum protection, sharing less is definitely more.
While you may not be able to individually monitor every move made by your child online, the latest Internet monitoring software can. Many programs even allow you to see exact keystrokes.
Setting ground rules for social media will ensure that your children are safe and behaving themselves online. The best way to get the entire family’s buy-in? Have them sign an Internet usage contract. That way, everyone is clear about what is expected of them, and your entire family is held to the same standards.
If you’re checking Facebook every five minutes and snapping selfies at inappropriate times, you’re setting a poor example for how and when social media should be used. Remember, your kids are always watching you, so make sure you’re leading by example.
If you’re serious about monitoring the online habits of your children, you’ve got to learn the technology. Try to understand the core features of each social network, what kind of information is typically shared and how your kids prefer to engage with each platform.
Just because a social network asks for an address and telephone number doesn’t mean you necessarily have to supply this information. Most networks only require a name and valid email address to sign up — all other data is 100% optional.
While it may seem fun for your kids to share with their followers exactly where they are, doing so greatly increases their vulnerability. Predators can use this feature to determine exactly where your kids are, which opens them up to robbery or worse.