Social media is almost unavoidable today, kids want to connect with their friends at any time. But there is one thing that you shouldn’t overlook and that’s how to keep kids safe on social media. Let’s face it, kids are way more tech savvy then we can even imagine. It’s important that parents are vigilant when it comes to children’s online presence.
- Educate yourself about social media
It was easier when we only had Facebook to keep up with. Social media can be difficult when parents aren’t as familiar with it. Even the coolest parent may not be up to speed on the latest, most-popular network or platform. Here are some popular social media networks for today’s youth:
- Yik Yak
- Age Limit
First off, do what feels right for you and your family and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Most social media sites require users to be at least 13 or older to create an account without their parents’ permission, according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
- Keep your child’s profile private
It is important to keep the settings to “private” and not allow information to get into the wrong hands. This goes without saying but make sure they are not posting personal details such as phone numbers, address, checking in or sharing their location, etc.
- Open Communication with kids
If you are going to set boundaries for your kids when they are online, make sure they know what is expected of them. Keeping open communication with your kids creates a safe space for them to come to you with a problem, without the fear of punishment.
- Staying Safe Online
The days of teaching kids how to be safe by “not talking to strangers” and “be home before the street lights come on” are over. Now we have to teach them how to stay safe when everyone is their “friend”. Talk to your child about not clicking links or downloading apps which can lead to nasty viruses on your computer, using secure passwords and again, not sharing important information.
Teaching healthy social media habits early on and letting them know what is acceptable and not acceptable will help your children later on in life. The golden rule still remains the same just with a little twist now, “Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want your grandma to see”.