Help Your Child Stay Safe Online With These Social Media Tips for Parents

Mother and daughter looking at cellphone talking about social media tips for children

Parenting comes with all sorts of challenges, and in today’s world, social media is an added concern.

Social media offers an opportunity to connect and share with others, but it can also expose your child to bullying, negativity and potentially dangerous individuals. 

The following tips will help you and your child safely navigate the world of social media and capitalize on its benefits.

Enforce Screen Time Limits With Your Child

Social media at its core is designed to entertain, connect and engage users. That’s why time seems to lose all meaning when your kids are tweeting, reading, clicking and sharing. Hours can go by in what feels like a blink of an eye. 

To help safeguard your children’s time, encourage them to foster other interests and limit their screen time. 

“Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children,” recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics on its blog HealthyChildren.org.

Parenting Tips for Staying Safe Online

Appearances can be deceiving on social media, and it’s important that your kids understand that just like in the real world, not everyone can be trusted. 

Remind your children that connecting with someone they don’t know is not a safe idea. A friend request from a stranger should never be accepted and sharing pictures can be problematic, as some apps reveal to users where the photos have been taken. 

Another tip is to remind your child to not share identifiable information such as their full name, birthdate, location or name of their school that an online predator can use to their advantage. 

Make sure you help your kids set the appropriate privacy settings on each of their social media accounts.

A mother and her teen daughter adjusting social media privacy settings using a laptop

Be Cautious of the Latest Social Media Apps and Sites

It seems that every other second there is a hot new social media app. With the rapidity of change, it’s hard to keep up with what apps are safe for your kids to use. 

Keep the line of communication between you and your children open. Ask about what apps they’re using and research them on your own. 

If your kids want to try a new app, tell them you need to investigate it first before they can sign up.

Implement the Forever Rule With Your Kids

Anything your kids post will last forever in cyberspace. Even if they think they erase it or take it down, their words, comments or pictures never truly go away. 

What they post now can live to haunt them for years to come. Potential employers, school boards, friends and family, along with anyone else using the internet can find and judge their content.

Father and son use social media on a cell phone

Tips for Parents on Social Media Monitoring

Your kids may refuse your friend request or block you from their posts because they don’t want their social media activity monitored or they don’t want to let their friends see that you’re looking over their shoulder. 

You might feel hesitant to invade their privacy, but it’s important that you are keeping an eye on them. 

“As long as they are minors, I believe it’s wise for parents or guardians to check their children’s social media posts,” says Psychology Today writer Tim Elmore. 

Apps such as DinnerTime, Norton and TeenSafe will help you keep tabs on your kids’ online activity and set limits.

Help Your Child Understand How to Protect Themselves on Social Media 

Social media is a complicated outlet with many pros and cons. These tips can help your child understand how to protect themselves online and use social media to enhance their life instead of adding more stress.

As a final tip, don’t forget to stay safe as a parent as well. When you’re surfing the internet or browsing social media, these tips are applicable to you too!.

If you’re doing things like online banking or investing, you also need to safeguard your online accounts.

Check out the next blog for tips on how you can take additional steps to protect your financial information online.

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Published by Minster Bank. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

 

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