Online Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know
As connected as kids are today, it can be a full-time job for parents to know everything they’re doing online. Many kids may seem comfortable with technology and the internet, but you might forget that they’re still learning and may not be prepared to spot the risks and pitfalls of being constantly connected — especially when it comes to social media.
It’s no secret that teens and preteens are very active on social media, which can make it a challenge for parents to keep an eye on their social media activity. Setting up a few rules may help relieve some of the stress that comes with parenting and social media.
Talk to your kids. Have conversations about how to avoid strangers, how to prevent revealing too much about themselves, and general internet safety. Encourage them to come to you for guidance when questionable content or situations arise.
Social Media Safety Tips
- Keep the computer in a common area of your home. Have designated areas to use tablets and cell phones. This can help you monitor what sites your child is visiting. Plus, they may be less tempted to visit sites or perform activities they’re not allowed to if you’re nearby.
- Only allow your child to access the internet for a limited, set time each day. Homework might be an exception. Social media sites can be a time suck, and you don’t want your child spending all of their free time online.
- If your child wants to join a social media site, request that you have access to their account credentials. This can help you check for undesirable activities, such as adding suspicious friends, receiving questionable messages, or posting unkind content.
- If your child is an older teen, they may think giving you full access to their account is too invasive. Consider a compromise. Require them to add you as a friend so you can monitor their activities via your own account.
- Stick with age-appropriate sites. Most social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have an age minimum of 13 years. Some of these sites have additional security settings for minors, as well. Facebook, for example, automatically imposes stricter privacy settings for kids than for adults, so be sure your child is using the correct birth year upon signup. Twitter gives a user the option for an account to be private. In that case, the user approves all follow requests.
- Always review the privacy settings on your child’s profile.