We all lead very busy lives. We’ve got work and our home responsibilities too. That means caring for the kids, shuffling them to dance or soccer after school and all kinds of things that eat up our time, leaving us exhausted. If you’re a single parent too, it can be even more diminishing.
But we can’t rest yet. We first must ensure our children’s safety. You may take great steps to secure your home with strong locks and alarm systems. But there’s one thing you’re likely not securing very well and that’s your child’s online safety.
Social media is here to stay, and while not all of it is bad, our kids lack the know-how to make sound online decisions. Kids naturally don’t think about the consequences that can arise. They’re just not there yet. Fortunately, they have us. You don’t have to hover over their shoulder every time they get a text though. Here’s what to do to enact responsible social media usage in your home.
1 Check out what they’re using. Facebook isn’t cool anymore. Kids are favoring things like Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Always check out the privacy features and how you can prevent problems on any app they are using. Some are also inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18. For those, we suggest removing them immediately.
2 Show them how to avoid cyber-bullying. Life was easier in our times of growing up when we only had to worry about the schoolyard bully. Now social media opens the doors for inappropriate behavior from others. In the apps your child uses, set the privacy controls to private. Don’t allow tagging on photos. Report anyone that bullies, shares pornographic material, and does anything else inappropriate. If someone should threaten your child, report it to the authorities.
3Sit down and set rules. Like driving a car, social media use is a privilege your child must earn. Make sure your child knows the rules and signs off on them. Post them on the fridge so your child never forgets. Some of the most important is to never add anyone that you don’t know in real life, never use your full name on your online accounts, never give out personal information including where you go to school, and never meet someone you met online. Don’t just take their word for it though. Make sure you’re taking the time each week to monitor things. Use an app like PACT to help control social media usage versus online usage for school work too.
4 Delete all risky apps. Some apps are not at all appropriate for your child to use and you must delete them immediately. We’ve talked about those before, like Kik, SnapChat, and Tinder, for example. There are many more too, and more will always come up. Be proactive and block the from the App Store download so your child can’t get them.
Keep current with tech trends so you always know what’s out there. By staying a step ahead, you can be sure you’re teaching good social media behavior to your child and keep them safe.