Did you know that 5.7 million children younger than eleven years old have social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat? This statistic exists despite that fact that each of these social media networks has age restrictions set much higher than eleven years old.
While millennials are getting the order and have their own social media accounts that they use frequently, their children are now coming along and thinking that it’s safe for them to do the same.
However, when it comes to children and social media, there are different guidelines that should be followed. What is said and done on social media networks can have a very strong influence on children and teens. To protect your children from the negative sides of social media, here are a few helpful tips:
Have an honest chat about cybersecurity
While you may have had a chat with your children about not talking to strangers in person or not getting into a car they don’t know, you also need to talk with them about being safe online.
Many children don’t understand that adults can lie and manipulate online, so they are more willing to trust everyone. However, the internet is the primary tool used by dangerous adults to lure children.
It’s crucial that you talk to your children about cybersecurity, even in the most basic form. Tell them not to add anyone on social media, who they don’t know, to never post personal information like phone numbers and addresses, and to make sure their accounts are set to “private.”
Monitor their social media usage
When first starting to use social media, your kids may get excited and forget about some of your rules. As they’re unfamiliar with social media platforms initially, they may not even know how to verify the authenticity of their friends’ profiles or adjust their privacy settings.
For these reasons, it’s important to monitor their social media usage. Number check by Spokeo is a great way to do this. They have several different features, including number lookup and reverse number lookup, but they can also track social media accounts. By entering your child’s phone number, you can see all of their social media accounts, as well as their recent posts.
Be one of their “friends” on social media
No pre-teen or teenager wants to have their parent as a “friend” on Facebook or a “follower” on Instagram. However, keeping an eye on their online activity is the best way to ensure that they’re protected from the negative influence of social media.
Tell them that a basic requirement for their social media usage is that you friend or follow them on all of their platforms.
Avoid “anonymous” apps
Cyberbullying is one of the most dangerous side effects of social media. Many social media platforms exist that allow users to remain anonymous. For many pre-teens and teenagers who engage in cyberbullying, the ability to remain anonymous gives them the courage to be cruel because there won’t be any repercussions.
Did you know that, on average, young people spend just over three hours on social media daily? Imagine how much mental and emotional harm could come to them if that time is spent getting cyberbullied. Be sure that your kids avoid “anonymous” apps like YikYak and Kik.
Stick to age limits on social media sites
Social media websites have age limits for a reason. For example, the age limit to have a Facebook account is 13 years old. However, we all know kids much younger than that who are active on the social media platform.
Other popular social media sites like Instagram and Youtube also have age restrictions. In order to protect your children from the harmful influence of social media, be sure that they stick to the age limits on these social media sites. Don’t let them get an account early.
Adjust your child’s privacy settings
The best way to ensure that your children don’t become negatively influenced on social media platforms is to adjust their privacy settings.
Most of the bad influence on these sites come from young children being exposed to adult content. By adjusting your child’s privacy settings, you can ensure that only friends have access to their profiles and posts. This can ensure that your child is only speaking to their real-life friends.
Only allow internet access in common rooms
The final way to make sure that your child is protected from negative social network influence is to only allow internet access in common rooms.
By prohibiting your children to be alone on their smartphones or laptops in their bedrooms, you’re able to monitor what they do on social media. Just the simple fact that the whole family can see what they’re doing online is enough to make them shy away from breaking any of your online safety rules or getting caught up in anything inappropriate.
Social media networks are fun. There’s no denying that. They’re a helpful way to communicate with friends, stay up to date on the lives of loved ones, and even meet new people! However, it’s important that children and young adults use social media with extreme caution. The unfortunate reality is that horrendous things like cyberbullying, stalking, kidnapping, and even worse can happen when children are exploited or manipulated on social media platforms. However, by taking the advice in these eight helpful tips, you can keep your kids both safe and happy on social media.
*This is a paid collaboration