There’s no doubt we live in a digital work where it’s more and more common for our children to be tech-savvy.
As kids explore the wonders of the world wide web, it’s important that parents remain vigilant when it comes to security and your child’s online presence.
From cyber bullies to predators and malware, there’s a legion of things looking to taint your child’s use of social media that can have serious a serious impact on their safety.
If your child is asking to use or is already using social media, check out these top tips for keeping them safe on social media:
Gone are the days of just Myspace and Facebook being your choices for social media.
There are a whole host of networking websites for your child to become a part of, and it’s up to you to familiarize yourself with them and what is appropriate.
By studying popular apps – including the likes of WhatsApp, Instagram, Reddit, Yik Yak, Twitter and more – you understand how they work and how they can be taken advantage of.
Swot up on the privacy settings and how you can make your child’s account as secure as possible.
ESTABLISH AN AGE LIMIT
While you’re familiarizing yourself with what social media sites are out there, you should take a look at what the required minimum age is for each site.
Most social media sites require users to be 13 or older to create an account without their parents’ permission.
It can be beneficial to set an age limit on your children when they can use social media based on these guidelines and explain to them why this is important.
Set boundaries about which sites they can use and for how long. Try to do this when they first start using social networking sites, so they get used to it from a young age.
CHECK THEIR SETTINGS
Once your child has set up a social media account, it’s important to remain vigilant about keeping their privacy settings updated.
Social Media sites are continually adding security settings to ensure that maximum protection is available, but oftentimes they need to be updated manually by the user.
Check their settings to make sure that they are as safe as possible and cannot be contacted by strangers.
KEEP IT PRIVATE
Most social media sites give you the option to make your account private – an important feature for children using social media.
This means that only people who your child has friended will be able to see the content on their profile and that no strangers will be able to pry on what they’re doing.
Additionally, make sure they’re not posting any personal details including phone numbers, addresses or check-ins.
PHOTO AND VIDEO CHECK
While most people post pictures and videos with the best intentions, it’s easy for things to be taken the wrong way or out of context and when everyone is online, t
The wrong message can have long-lasting consequences, so talk to your kids about this and make sure they understand to only post pictures and videos that present themselves and others in a positive light.
They can delete a picture or a video, but many may see this before they have the chance. Assure them that if they wouldn’t show their parents a certain picture or video, don’t post it online.
CHOOSE STRONG PASSWORDS
Make sure your child has a strong password linked to their accounts.
Steer clear of ‘1234’ and ‘password’ so that no one can hack into their account and steal their details.
HIT THE BLOCK BUTTON
Teach your child how to block or ignore people on social networking sites and online games.
Support them in knowing what they can do if someone makes them feel uncomfortable and that they can always talk to you if they are part of a conversation that makes them uneasy.
Establishing rules or guidelines from the start is a great way to instill positive habits for your child on social media.
However, you don’t want to set up rules which are too strict or else you run the risk of your child actively and secretly trying to break them.
You can’t monitor your child’s social media activity constantly, so maintaining a strong line of communication is important to understand what’s going on with your child online.
Ask them to inform you whenever they receive messages or invites from strangers, talk to them about the consequences of misusing social media and ask them to tell you if someone is teasing or harassing them to ensure their safety.