The time has come. Your child wants to open a social media account. What now? Grab their hand and start this rite of passage together.
First things first, do we understand how to use these social media sites? As parents we need to educate ourselves on the ins and outs of social media. What kinds are there? How is each one navigated? Is there an ability to send personal messages? Video chat? Chat? Who can and can’t see my child’s profile? And on it goes.
There are a number of social media sites and each one has it own unique flare. Learning how to use and navigate around each one is key to keeping our kids safe on each individual site.
Decide which form of social media outlet works best for your child’s needs, then set some ground rules.
Some rules may include (but aren’t limited to)…
1. Time allotted for social media.
2. Parents must have the password. This should not be up for debate.
3. Make sure the followers/friends are REAL people, and that they are people you know personally.
4. Parents must have access to to all “friends/followers” and be “friends and followers” with the child. This allows the parent to have access to what is being shown via posts, video, and pictures.
5. Keep all personal information private. There is no reason to post phone numbers, addresses, or anything else deemed private.
6. Be very careful of what is posted personally. Even if we think no one is reading or watching what we may post, they are.
7. Never “check-in.” This allows people to know exact location.
8. Don’t be afraid to use the report button. Its there for a reason. And if a post is being used for bullying or harassment- it must be brought to the attention of the parent and a copy needs to be made.
9. The password is not to be shared with friends.
10. If ever unsure- ask! Communication between parent and child is the only sure way to gain trust.
There are predators everywhere, like monsters hiding under the bed. Taking time to make sure the ground rules are understood and proper precautions are in place can make all the difference.
So parents… Get involved. Take time. Set rules. This will make the transition to social media a better experience.