Let's face it, summers in Texas are hot. The heat can drive even the most outdoorsy kids indoors for days at a time. With all this indoor, air-conditioned time on their hands, many kids turn to social media. They connect with the friends they miss, check out all the latest trending videos, and occasionally bump into potential dangers.
Unfortunately, a virtually unlimited web of friends and total strangers can put even the most vigilant social media users at risk. Because kids lack the self-management, decision-making skills, and experience of adulthood, children are at a greater risk of falling victim to scams, traffickers, and other online dangers. But here are some ways you can help keep them safe:
Provide your kids with specific guidelines and rules for how, when, and how much they can use social media. For example, allow social media only in public spaces in your home when you are available to supervise.
Many children do not think of the dangers that come with social media use. They may not be aware photos or personal information they post can end up all over the internet. Teach your children to be mindful of the photos or personal information they share.
Keep it small
There are a lot of social media platforms, so have them choose just one or two to use. They should also limit their social circles to only people they know in person and not respond to random messages from strangers. Also, do your research on which social media platforms work better for kids and which ones come with more mature content and risk.
Maximize security and privacy
Every social media platform offers a variety of security settings. Go through the steps to make the account as secure and private as the settings allow for your child.
Use it together
One way to instill good social media habits is to model savvy social media use and to spend limited amounts of time using social media with your kids. This can be a way to introduce them to healthier habits in a guided way rather than just letting them wade into social media all on their own.
These tips can help you set your child up for success on social media this summer. For more information on other ways to stay safe online, visit our Security and Fraud Center.