Is social media a safe place for my kids?

10 Tips to Keep Them Safe and Keep You in the Know

In terms of social media, there are good practices to follow, and there are warning signs and red flags to watch for. As with anything in regards to your children, it’s better safe than sorry!

Ideally, you’d like your child to have some freedom to connect with their friends and be “social” by today’s standards. (It’s up to the parent to determine how much time is spent socializing with friends or enjoying family time–!)
There are a few things that you can stay on top of to help keep them aware of their own safety, and steps you can proactively take yourself.

1) Keep the computer in an open, public area. If they must do work in their room, or a quiet space, ask that they stay off social media while working on their homework.

2) Did you know: If your child is under the age of 13, they are not legally permitted to have a facebook page. If they are 13 or older and do have a facebook page, let your child know that you would like to have access to their friend list at any time.

3) Keep your privacy settings for your internet browser and social media sites set at the strictest levels. This will help in keeping viruses off your computer in addition to keeping your child safe.

4) Be clear with your expectations. Consider making an online family safety policy or pledge and have each member of your family sign it. Find some examples here: www.safekids.com/family-contract-for-online-safety

5) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Have your child avoid free giveaways, contests and questionnaires. Most of the time, in order to enter, it will ask for personal information, which they should be careful with (Date of Birth, email address, etc.)

6) Monkey see, monkey do. If you’re not careful with how you use social media, your child will do the same. This means texting and driving or checking Facebook and Instagram at every spare moment. You are the human being in the equation, and you are in charge of how you use technology. Empower your children the same way.

7) Consider making social media or cell phone games/apps a reward—like you would television or other hobbies. Limit the time to after homework is completed, or only on the weekends, etc.

8) What you put online is there forever. And even in Snapchat, screen shots can be taken and saved. Tell your children to assume that everyone they know and everyone THOSE friends know will see what you post, share, tweet, and comment—because they might, someday.

9) Caution your children. The internet is a virtual world, but it is still a world, and the people they do not know online are still considered strangers.

10) Have conversations with your children about communication. Tell them that you have given them these cell phones and computers and other devices so they can communicate with you, first and foremost, and secondly so that they can extend their education through the use of the internet—there’s a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, which they can use for good or for harm.


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Traditionally speaking. Holidays at CVCHistory of Marta Smalley, Before/After School Care Director and Kindergarten