Social media has become an everyday part of a number of American’s lives, and this is especially true for the younger generation. As a result, parents need to find a good balance between monitoring their child’s behavior and allowing them to make their own mistakes.
A recent report issued by a professor at the College of Human Services at Kansas State University looked at the issues in preventing cyberbullying and protecting a child’s privacy while online. Also, many parents have struggled with how much information they should share about their children on Facebook.
“Facebook is a tool that could be used for good or bad,” said report author Chuck Smith. “It’s up to parents to help their children understand how to use it well and be vigilant about misuse.”
The biggest concern, which drives many moms and dads to invest in parental monitoring software, is cyberbullying. Parents should take the time to read all of the posts the child puts online in order to ensure they are behaving as well as not becoming victims to cyberbullying. Certain security settings are important as well, but how much a parent monitors their child changes as the kid becomes older.
“The impact on relationships could be with children regarding parents as too intrusive in their personal lives,” Smith said. “Though as long as the children are living in the home, parents have every right to be vigilant. For parents, vigilance changes with the child’s age, but you still have to be responsible.”
Communication is important when it comes to social media, as parents need to lay out guidelines for using the websites. This way, the child will be fully informed about what is right and wrong on these sites, and they are more apt to tell a parent about something suspicious.
“The younger generation is very much an online generation,” Smith said. “We have to be realistic and teach them about the danger and responsibility of posting online and considering what they might say and how they might react. Parents who are overly restrictive might lose their opportunity.”
In addition, parents need to educate themselves on how to properly use Facebook so they can protect their children.