Today’s young generation is more social media savvy than it ever was. Social media platforms are utilized more by children and teens than most adults. According to recent research, more than 80% of teens are using some form of social media and at the same time, they are sharing more information about themselves on social media platforms than they have ever in the past.
Using the internet and spending time on social media has its benefits but one should not forget that it also poses new risks and challenges. From cyberbullying to watching inappropriate videos to oversharing to giving into peer pressure to falling in the trap of online predators, one wrong step taken in the world of social media can lead children to severe problems.
For instance, Snapchat has caused many problems for children in the past. This app allows children to have secretive conversations with others because the messages disappear once they are viewed by the other party. This makes parents remain unaware of their child’s activity on the app. They may try to hack Snapchat of their child but do not get to witness any mysterious activity as the conversations are erased.
This is the reason why navigating a child’s social media activity is not only upsetting but quite challenging for many parents. However, with the right approach, mindset, and tools, parents can set positive examples for their children, teach them how to use social media responsibly and respectfully and monitor their activity to ensure their online safety.
We are going to discuss a few effective tips from parenting experts to help you keep your children protected on social media.
Educate Yourself About Social Media
Amy Morin, a renowned psychotherapist and parenting expert, suggests that parents take plenty of time to research and learn about the popular social media sites their children are using.
If they familiarize themselves with popular social media sites, they can get a better understanding of how they work. You can create your profile on these sites and instant-messaging apps to experience them firsthand.
Morin also explains that it is important for parents to understand the difference between Snapchat and Tumblr because your child is subject to different risks on each platform.
Establish an Age Limit
If you feel your kids are quite young and you haven’t allowed them to be on social media, it is a good idea to let them know at what age they can join social media platforms.
Mark Loewen, a parenting coach and founder of Launch Pad Counseling expressed that when children feel they are never going to join social media, they are more likely to create their own, secret profiles.
When you are deciding at what age you will allow your kids to join social media, remember that most social media sites require users to be 13 years of age to set up a new account. therefore, it is better that you discuss the age limit for joining social media with your child.
Make Them Aware of Social Media Dangers
Children often fail to realize the consequences that come with using social media. They also can’t recognize the online dangers lurking on social media sites. They tend to forget how easily someone can access their information on social media and that others are secretly keeping an eye on their online activity.
Morin further says that parents often forget to communicate about how photos, videos, comments, and online interactions could impact their children’s future. She suggests that parents should discuss real-life situations taking place with other kids on social media such as stories in the news about kids being abducted, cyberbullied, or harassed.
It is important to make clear to your child that he/she can come up to you with questions or help at any time. You need to make your children feel comfortable around you so they can discuss anything with you. Make them recognize the signs of social media dangers so they can think twice before posting or sharing anything on the social platforms.
Keep the Digital Devices Around You
Instead of keeping a computer in your child’s bedroom or allowing them to use their cellphones in areas of the home where you can’t always go, it is better to keep the devices in an open and centralized location in your home. This way, you can easily keep tabs on their social media usage.
Morin also says that children are less likely to engage in an inappropriate activity when they know their parents have their eyes on them and can look over their shoulder at any time.
Monitor Social Media Activity
While you can perform different ways to ensure that your child is safe on social media, monitoring their social media activity with the help of parental controls and monitoring apps is also a good idea. Just beware of fake Snapchat hack apk files and Facebook spy apps and make a point to use reliable monitoring apps only.
Check Privacy Settings Regularly
Always make a point to check your kid’s privacy settings on each social media site regularly. All social media platforms are constantly updating and modifying their privacy settings, so you should always make sure your child’s profile is updated and as secure as it can be.