Nowadays, not only adults but every kid you meet is on social media. And more than adults, you find children spending time on social networking sites playing social media games and some even having more than one profile on these networking sites. Most of these kids also visit these websites daily.
However, with the increase of youngsters on social media, we as adults and parents need to ensure their safety around their technology. There are many good things about child friendly social media, but there are also a few risks and things children should avoid. For example, children don’t always make the right choices when posting something to a site, leading to problems.
So adults and parents need to talk to their kids about using social media wisely. But first, let’s see how social media can be beneficial for kids.
- It helps connect with family and friends.
- Help you volunteer and get involved with a campaign, nonprofit, or charity.
- Enhances your creativity by sharing and viewing ideas, music, and art
- Let’s you meet and interact with others who share similar interests
- It helps you communicate with educators and fellow students
So what can you do about the safety of your children?
It’s essential to be aware of what your kids do online, like if they’re playing create avatar games, etc. Snooping, however, can alienate them and tarnish the relationships you have built together. What’s important is to stay involved in a way that makes your kids understand that you respect their privacy and want to make sure of their safety.
Here are a few essential tips to tell your kids:
1. Change the privacy settings
Adjusting the privacy settings is necessary. Make sure to go through them together with your kids to make sure they understand each one. Explain the importance of passwords to your kids and how it protects them against identity theft and that they should never share them with anyone, no matter how close.
2. Don’t befriend strangers
A plain, simple, and safe thumb rule is that if you don’t know a person, don’t send them a friend request nor accept theirs.
3. Be nice
Make it clear to your kids that you expect them to treat others with respect and never post hurtful or embarrassing stuff online. And ask them always to inform you about any harassing or bullying messages that others send or post.
4. Think twice
Make sure to remind your children that what they post online can be used against them. For example, in many cases, letting the world know you’re leaving for vacation or posting your home address makes you a target for would-be burglars. Likewise, teens need to refrain from posting specific locations and contact information about parties and events on social media.
5. What would grandma say?
Encourage kids not to share anything about themselves on social media that they wouldn’t want their teachers, college admissions officers, future bosses, or grandma to see.
6. Create a contract
You might consider making a “social media agreement” with your kids that outlines how they will protect their privacy, protect their reputation, and not provide personal information on social media. Furthermore, we need them to promise not to use technology to harm others through bullying and gossip. In turn, agree to respect your child’s privacy while making an effort to be part of the social media world yourself.