Parenting has never been easy. Parents have to worry about a lot of things. If the burden of existing problems wasn’t enough for them, they now have to worry about keeping their children safe on social media in this digital age. Digital parenting is quite challenging, or so to speak.
There were times when parents worried about their children going out with their friends or spending too much time at their friend’s place. Now, they have to worry about them spending too much time on social media platforms. Social media safety is important for children just like any other thing. Both online and offline safety for children is a must these days.
In an article published in Forbes, it was realized that one should always think about safety when using social media. The theme of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) which was started by the National Cyber Security Division and the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance was to "Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.’ A significant part of this theme was also to make sure that we regularly update the privacy settings on our social media. The same goes for our children.
Social media can be dangerous for kids on so many levels. They are exposed to several online threats in the realm of social media just like anywhere else. Stories revolving around kids getting lured or abducted through social media interaction are increasing day by day. No matter what your kid’s age, it is important for you to follow some important rules for their social media safety.
The Guide to Social Media Safety
Parents can keep a watch on their children’s social media activity and monitor their every online movement to ensure they are not falling prey to the wrong hands. We are going to discuss a social media safety guide with you so you can protect your children from getting bullied, harassed, shamed, conned, or worse while they are just trying to spend some good time on social media.
Always Check Privacy Settings
Children may not pay much attention to privacy settings while creating an account on social media. Therefore, it is recommended for parents to keep a look at their privacy settings every now and then and do not let your children alter them.
All social media platforms provide you with the option to limit post viewing to specific audiences. You can take some time to explore these settings and to understand them until you become the master of privacy settings.
If your child is spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram, make sure to set their accounts private and apply all relevant privacy settings on their profiles so they can stay away from the potential online threats lurking on these platforms.
Be Careful of Friend Requests
There was a time when users used to compete with one another on social media to have the largest number of connections. No doubt children these days feel happy to connect with new people and make new friends through social media platforms but you need to be careful of who they are getting connected with.
There could be something suspicious about the person whose friend request your child has accepted. They could be pedophiles or cyberbullies. Make sure you teach your children to be careful about the friend requests and be cautious of all the people they will add to their accounts. They need to only accept friend requests from people they know in real life.
Always Think Before Posting
Parents should teach their children to always think hard before posting something on social media. They should remember that everything they post online is going to be there forever even if they remove from their profiles. That’s why they say one should always face their problems and not Facebook them.
Nothing can be permanently erased from the internet. They shouldn’t post anything that is going to make them feel embarrassed in the future especially in front of their potential college principal or employer. According to a recent survey shared by Stay Safe Online, it was found that almost 70 percent of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.
Also, children should limit their personal information in their profiles and posts. They should always abstain from giving their contact information to others on social media and keep it private. If they want to share their information with a friend, make sure they do it either via a phone call or text message.
Create Strong Passwords
Sometimes children may forget creating a strong password for their social media accounts. to make their lives easier, they tend to choose easier passwords so they can remember them. however, that’s not a good practice at all. Their accounts can get compromised easily if they do not create strong passwords.
Therefore, parents should look into this matter themselves and help their kids create strong passwords for their social media accounts. Always make sure to use a combination of words, numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters that is easy for you and your child to remember but difficult for other people to guess.
A blog published on Norton’s (anti-virus product) website recommended keeping your passwords private by memorizing them, discouraging the idea of writing them on the device itself.
Approach Online Friends Carefully
Most children tend to trust people easily on the internet. They soon agree to meet the people they have just met online without realizing the consequences. They can never tell if the person they are about to meet turns out to be dangerous.
Therefore, children should never agree to meet someone they have just met online. If someone tries to talk them into meeting them outside, they should always tell their parents or involve an adult. Always be careful with approaching online friends because they may turn out to be potential online predators.
Make a Habit of Logging Out When Done
Children should have a habit of logging out of their social media accounts as soon as they are done using them. This applies especially when they are using a public computer either in a school’s lab or an internet café. They should also make it a routine to log out of their private devices from time to time.
Logging out from social media accounts helps ensure that other people won’t be able to sneak into your account and reach out to your friends, use your photos and videos or worse, change your password and make you deprived of your own account completely.