*This is a collaborative post*
Social media has become a big part of many children’s lives. Kids see their friends on social media and want to be just like them, but sometimes what they are doing isn’t always safe. Things on the internet can go viral very quickly, which can cause problems for kids who don’t understand how it works.
Here Are Six Tips On Making Sure Your Child Is Using Social Media Safely
1. Discuss Social Media
First and foremost, talk to your kids about staying safe on social media – especially if they’re under 13 years old. Use Family Orbit to monitor their cell phone and discuss what information they should give out online.
2. Discuss Why Certain Information Should Not Be Shared
Make sure they know that giving out personal information (like an address or phone number) is not advised at all while using social media applications. Also, if your child is older than 13, make sure they know that it is okay to stop people from following them or tagging them in photos if they are uncomfortable.
3. Make Sure All Profiles Are Private
Set rules about when and how often kids can use social media in your family. For example, if you have younger children who don’t need to be on social media yet, set a timer to limit their time online or even take their devices away until they’re old enough to use them responsibly.
If your child’s social media account is public, make sure you check what information they’ve been posting. They may not realize how much personal information they’re sharing with the public.
Things like a tagged photo of their house or an Instagram profile with a real name attached can be dangerous for kids to have visible on their media accounts. – Young children should stay off social media until they mature enough to understand what safety measures need to be taken while using it.
4. Protect The User Identity
If your child is under 13, make sure his/her social media account(s) are set up in a parent’s name, not your child’s. This way, if something happens or gets posted that you don’t want to be associated with your child, you can delete the account without having to involve him/her in the process.
- It’s okay to set rules for social media use sometimes. Some examples are creating a rule where children need parental approval before accepting new followers or friend requests.
- Talk to your child about what content is inappropriate and should not be shared on social media sites. This includes bullying another user and sharing photos/videos of another person(s) without their consent. Talking with children about appropriate behavior online will help them understand what is and isn’t okay to do when using social media applications.
- If a child breaks a rule – like bullying another user or sharing inappropriate photos/videos on social media – make sure you address the problem immediately. Make sure your child understands that it’s not okay, no matter when or where they are, to bully someone else or share content without their consent. If they continue to break the rules after being punished for doing so in the past, consider blocking the application from all devices.
5. Supervise When They Play On Another Phone
If your child doesn’t have access to social media yet, but another family member does, make sure you know their login information and privacy settings in case something happens while your kid is using the application. If anything bad should happen – like bullying or sharing inappropriate content – talk with your child about what steps he/she should take if it happens online again in the future to keep him/her safe.
6. Teach Them About Cyberbullying
Discuss cyberbullying and what kind of content is okay to post online with your kids before letting them have social media accounts. They need to understand that just because they can connect with people from around the world doesn’t mean it’s always safe or appropriate to do so. Cyberbullying is a big issue today – especially with children – and can cause long-term emotional damage if not handled correctly.
If your child is a victim of cyberbullying, make sure you report the person responsible for bullying. The more reports an account receives from other users, the faster it can get flagged and/or deleted by the social media application’s team.
Cyberbullying isn’t limited to social media applications like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook – it can happen on pretty much any type of internet-connected device. Make sure you’re aware of all the different ways cyberbullying can occur online (message boards/forums, emails, chat rooms) so you can help your child if anything happens while using these applications.
Make sure you keep up with new apps and features being released so you can discuss them with your child before he/she uses them. Some apps may be safe, but not all of them are.