Social media is scary – you do realize that your kids have access to things outside of your control with social media and technology.
Our kids are vulnerable to online predators and to harassing behavior from peers and other adults, unless we follow strict safety rules.
The most important social media safety tips for parents would include the following 10 steps:
Don’t allow your child to put their phone number or location on a social media profile or “check in” at a location that will be displayed on social media. You may know where your child is, but do you want everyone else to know, too?
Teach your child to make wise choices over who “friends” or follow them in social media.
As a parent, control who sees what information your child puts on their wall, profile or news feed. Make sure you, the parent, has the password to their account and that they set the control settings for the strictest privacy from the general public. Facebook recently went public for profile searches. Because of that, my teens are no longer on Facebook.
Monitor unwanted posts or messages in social media. Teach your kids to control what they will read or accept. Block a person if necessary.
Teach your child to use the internet on a tablet, phone, iPod or computer that’s available to an adult if needed. Regarding smart phones, read this article and consider the facts for your family’s decision.
Don’t allow your child to share social media passwords with friends or anyone else.
Teach your child to not send any pictures anywhere or to anyone that they wouldn’t feel comfortable showing to you. Pictures remain forever in cyberspace even after the original is deleted, including Snapchat if someone takes a photo of it before it disappears.
Teach your child to not say anything in a text or message they wouldn’t say to someone face to face, or something they wouldn’t want you to know they’ve said.
Disable GPS tracking on smart phones. Why? You may know where your child is with a GPS feature, but so do other people they’re connected to on social media. Sex offenders usually aren’t the creepy guy on the street corner, but someone who knows your child. GPS enabling opens up doors for grooming. If you want to know where your children are, have them text or phone you with their cell to check in.
Teach your child to communicate with you about cyber relationships. Know who your kids are friends with online just like you would with their “real-time” friends.
Our children are the first generation with access to technology that opens doors of unlimited possibilities, but also unlimited danger.
As parents, we have to be diligent about teaching social media safety.