No longer are we exchanging phone numbers with friends, but instead, exchanging Facebook profiles. Social media is making teens feel more connected to their friends feelings’ and lives. Not only is it good for keeping in touch with existing pals, but it has also allowed people to build new friendships all over the world.
Almost 90 percent of teens say they use at least one social media site, while about 71 percent of teens are using at least two. The hopes of keeping your children away from social media is nearly impossible nowadays. Unless you pack your things and live under a rock.
Whether they’re at school or a friend’s house, more than likely they will be exposed to one of the many social media platforms. The best thing you can do as a parent if you allow your teen to access social media is to discuss with them how to appropriately use it and what red flags to look out for.
Practicing open communication with your teens will help them feel more comfortable approaching you if they do have concerns. Learn how to safely monitor your teens social media with the tips below.
Are Your Kids of Age?
Social media won’t let you create an account until you reach a certain age. That’s a great feature, but the platforms have zero way of monitoring how old their users really are. Kids can change their birth year and just like that they’ve made an account. Some measures are in place, like reporting an underage child. But is that enough? In the last few years, Consumer Reports estimated that Facebook has more than five million users under the age of 13. As a parent, it’s your choice whether you think your child is responsible enough to create an account. If you do sign them up before they’re 13, we suggest monitoring their online activity. Be Facebook friends, or create their password and email so you, too, have access to their account.
Social media is great for sharing and connecting with friends and family, but the last thing you want is to share your information with the other millions of Facebook users. Make sure you are aware of the privacy policies and set your teens account up based on these to ensure the most privacy.
It’s important your teen understands that having social media is a privilege and they should not take advantage. Before they register for an account, sit down together and discuss what guidelines you both agree should be in place when it comes to using social media.
Keep The Computer Centrally Located
If your teen wanders into their room with the computer, there’s no way of telling what they’re doing. By keeping the computer in the family room or kitchen where everyone comes in and out, you can easily check in on them and make sure they’re being safe online.
Avoid Free Giveaways
As adults, we’ve learned nothing is ever really “free.” Teens and young kids are still in the midst of learning that the second they see a pop-up with large letters flashing “FREE iPad!”, that it’s the last thing they should click. Warn your teens against this because it’s just another way to collect personal information that they shouldn’t be giving out.
Know What Photos Your Teens Are Posting
People share photos on social media of everything now; what they ate, where they are, their new hair-do and of what is commonly known as the “selfie.” There are no limits to what people post anymore. So much is being shared. Teaching our children to avoid sharing photos with clues to their location or sharing inappropriate photos are two important guidelines to set in place. Anyone can snap a screenshot of your image online and share it anywhere. So tell them to keep as much private as possible.
Teach Your Teens About Their Digital Footprint
Everything we post is permanent. Make it known to your teens: what goes online, stays online, even if they delete it. Posting inappropriate photos or messages could one day effect their future. If colleges or employers found bad posts from them online, they could lose out on great opportunities.
Talk To Your Kids About Online Dangers
Your teens need to know, not everyone on the Internet is who they say they are. Inform them about the dangers of the internet and what they should do if they feel unsafe. Not only are there predators, but there are also cyberbullies, and that’s become a big risk for teens and their mental health.
Get to Know Social Media
It’s important that we know what our kids are into. If you express interest in what they spend their time doing online, surely they will be more than happy to show you. Understanding how it all works and knowing what safety regulations you can place on their accounts might make it a little bit easier knowing they’re online with millions of others.
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