How can parents help their children navigate through the social networking web
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are some of the popular social media apps today. These apps changed how people communicate and engage in the Digital Age. However, stories about cyberbullying, sexting, and identity theft placed technology in a bad light. Parents are now more concerned about allowing their kids access to technology to protect them against these threats.
Limiting a child’s access to technology and social media may affect their growth as a digital native. Since they’re growing up in a tech-savvy society, parents need to prepare their children for a digital future. We’ve prepared a simple guide to help parents and their children navigate through social media.
Discuss the basics of social media
Social media is an online network of people who discuss and share their ideas with a virtual community. It’s a platform where they can share photos, chat, and post status messages for their family and friends to see. Kids love social media because it allows them to plan their social life and participate in causes which interest them. As a parent, you need to discuss about social media because your children need guidance. Whatever they post online will stay forever. It could also affect their future job opportunities or college scholarships. A simple discussion about your child’s online activities may lead to a better online behavior.
Let your child know about the risks of sharing too much information
Over-sharing information is one of the biggest problems on social media. Most kids and teens tend to reveal too much information about their personal lives, which attract online predators or cyber bullies. Remind them that their online profiles are windows to their real lives. Educate your child about the risks of sharing too much information. Start by discouraging them from adding “friendly strangers” to their network. These could be bullies or predators who want to cause them harm. Let them know about proper netiquette and what they can or can’t share online. If you decide to limit their time online, consider using cyber security services like MomSecure. Our cyber agents can help you configure your child’s devices to protect them from online threats. Always remind them that their online reputation and privacy should be always be protected.
Look for signs of online harassment and encourage your child to talk to you about it
Online harassment is another concern which parents need to look out for. Cyberbullying, impersonation (identity theft), and digital pranks are examples of online harassment. If your child falls victim to any of these types of harassments, he or she might be:
- Upset after using his or her smartphone or computer
- Feels anxious after receiving a text or PM (private message)
- Refuses to leave the house or withdraws from family or friends
However, your kid may be an online bully if he or she:
- Gets angry if he or she can’t go online
- Prefers to go online while everyone is sleeping
- Has multiple social media accounts with different names
If your child or teen displays any of these signs, ask him or her questions based on these warning signs. Hear them out and listen. After listening to your child, discuss how these types of online harassments affect other people. Encourage them to be honest about their feelings. If your child was the victim, show him or her your support. If your child was the perpetrator, be calm and assess the impact of his or her actions. Focus on what he or she did and not on his or her personality. Listen without judging or blaming your child. If necessary, ask help from your child’s teacher or school counselor. They can help you help your child overcome their bad experiences.
Social media can be a platform for creativity and learning if used properly. We hope that our guide will help your children have a positive, safe, and productive social media experience. Visit the MomSecure blog for more social media tips for parents.