A big challenge facing parents today is the safety of their children on social media sites. Whether your child is a pre-teen or a teenager, more and more communication and interaction is occurring on-line. With concerns ranging from bullying to predators, parents must deal with increasingly complex issues that are related to followers on Instagram. All this can be quite taxing on your kid’s mind which is why you should take some serious steps in order to keep your kids safe from online threats.
However, there are some simple steps parents can take to help protect their children.
Know the Password
Part of growing up is earning privacy and being trusted. However, parents still have the right and responsibility to monitor the activities of their children. Social media sites are no different than any other privilege. Something as simple as having your child’s password to a site can go a long way towards ensuring no inappropriate or dangerous communications are taking place. Whether a parent frequently logs on or not, knowing your child’s password to their social media accounts can provide peace of mind for the parent and an added control.
Make it a requirement that your children add you as contacts or friends on their social media sites. This keeps the awareness high that the account is a privilege and not a right. It also gives a parent a feel for the types of conversations or activities taking place. This also provides a parent with a view of the types of friends or contacts your child has on social media sites and helps you monitor any new additions.
Don’t be afraid to comment on your child’s posts, photos, or comments. This not only shows your child that you are paying attention but also serves as notification to friends and contacts that your child has an involved parent staying in touch with what is going on.
Monitor the Content
Look at your child’s photos, links, and other additions. If you find something inappropriate, have your child remove the information. This can range from a photo you do not approve of to a friend’s comment or post you find offensive.
Monitor the Contacts
When your child adds new friends or contacts, check them out. In most cases, it will be an age-appropriate contact such as a school friend or other social acquaintance. However, if the contact is an adult, take a few moments to research and ensure the contact is appropriate.
Pull the Plug
Remember that social media accounts are a privilege. If your child is abusing the privilege and is not adhering to family rules, deactivate the account. Whether it is a short-term restriction or a more permanent one, this shows both the child and any friends or contacts that an involved parent is ensuring their child’s safety.
Parenting in today’s world is complex and often scary. Social media sites provide a wonderful way for children to remain in contact with others and to share information. At the same time, virtual networks can also be dangerous. Taking a few moments to review your child’s on-line information can make a big difference in their safety and your peace of mind.