Keeping the Kids Safe on Social Media
Social media isn’t going anywhere. Most people on the planet (at last the ones who have access to the internet) have at least one social media profile on the go, and although social media can be great for staying in touch with friends and discussing issues with like-minded people, it can also be a minefield for parents. Sexting, online predators, and bullying are all things that rear their head on social media, so how do you protect your children?
The key to protecting your children when they log on is to be informed. If you know what risks there are and what steps you can take to prevent them, your children are much less likely to get into trouble online. Here are some simple tips you can put into practice to keep your kids safe online:
Set Up Their Accounts
Whether your child wants to join Facebook, Twitter or any of the other popular social media sites, don’t agree unless you can set up the account for them. By doing so, you will have access to their password and the ability to log in and monitor their activity whenever you feel the need to do so.
Check the Privacy Settings
If your child is on a website like Facebook, you can ensure that they have a greater level of protection by putting the strictest privacy settings into place. Just click on the lock symbol located on the top right of the screen and change the setting so that only friends can see and interact with your kid.
Monitor their Screen Time
Keep your kid’s laptop or console in a public area, so that you can keep an eye on what they are doing. Don’t stand over their shoulder the whole time – you have to give them some trust- but periodically check what they are doing. If a child is secretive about their online activity, you should be asking yourself why.
Monitor Cell Phone Use
Cell phone use can be trickier to monitor because your child will be alone with their phone at various times throughout the day. Luckily, there is software available which enables you to do everything from spy on text messages to find your child’s passwords, so that you can monitor what they are doing. This might seem like an extreme, and in most cases, it is. However, if you are seriously worried about what your child is doing on their phone, it may be something you need to consider.
Limit Screen Time
Social media can be a great way for childfree to interact with others outside of school hours, but spending too much time online can lead to obesity, problems communicating with others in real life, and a whole host of the things that can easily be avoided by limiting the amount of time your kids spend online and encouraging them to go out and play in the fresh air once in a while. For younger kids, limiting time online to an hour a day should be more sufficient, whereas teenagers may need more time, and you might have to negotiate them to come to an agreement that suits everyone.