Social media is a huge part of our lives. It’s the way we connect with others, get our news, find advice, and shape our opinions. For today’s kids, it provides the same benefits – but also a lot more risk. When kids interact on social media, they can fall prey to online predators, experience online bullying, and engage with inappropriate content.
As a parent, you decide when and if social media will play a role in your kids’ lives – and for those of you who have decided to allow your kids to venture into social media's waters, we have some tips to help keep your kids safe:
- Set the stage. Be clear with your kids about what you expect of them as they engage with social media. Let them know that as their parent, you have the right to monitor their social media use.
- Warn them of the risks. Let them know that anything they post online can be screen-captured, saved, and shared against their wishes, and for that reason, to be very careful about what they post. Speak with your children about how adult predators pose as children and teens develop online relationships to gain trust and ultimately prey on younger social media users.
- Restrict the audience. Only allow your kids to socialize with people they know personally. Connecting with friends of friends is simply not a good idea because you can’t know who those strangers really are.
- Choose wisely. Not all social media platforms are alike. Learn about each one and choose selectively based on the platform’s privacy and safety policies.
- Limit access. Have your kids engage with social media only when you’re in the room with them. You can also set your kids up to use social media only within approved social group pages.
- Keep it private. Review all profile settings to ensure your kid’s profile is as private as possible.
- Have tech on your team. There are a variety of digital monitoring tools designed to help parents keep watch over their kids. Some restrict use while others simply alert parents to questionable activity. Do your research online to find the tool that best suits your preferences. Most are available for a fee, but it is a small price to pay to keep your kids safe.
- Keep talking. Let your kids know you are there for them when they need to talk about their concerns or experiences with social media. Keeping an open dialogue can give your children confidence as they develop new social skills and give you the opportunity to intervene when or if you ever need to take action to keep your kids safe.
By following these tips, you are letting your kids know you want their social media experience to be safe and fun!
Questions? Give us a call at (800) 839-1154. For more ways to stay safe online, visit our Security and Fraud Center.