Social media has become an essential part of all our lives. For kids and teens, social media has become a lifestyle. Social media has its benefits for young people but can also bring about issues for concern. It’s up to parents to teach their children how to use social media in a positive and beneficial way.
Good ways social media can be used for:
• Helping kids stay connected with family and friends
• The ability to get involved in a charity, campaign or cause
• The opportunity to enhance their creativity by sharing ideas, art or music
• Interact and meet others with similar interests
Despite all these positives, social media can be a place for things like cyberbullying or questionable activities. Without realizing it, kids and teens can share more online than is necessary. The majority of young people on social media post information like their real names, birthdates, where they attend school and where they live. All this exposed information makes kids an easy target for online predators or someone who has the intent to cause them harm.
Teaching your kids to be smart:
• Tell them to be nice and not make mean or hurtful comments to others.
• Remind your kids to think twice before hitting ‘enter’ because once it’s out there; it’s out there for good.
• They should avoid posting their location or “checking in” to locations.
• Highlight the importance of using privacy settings and to never share their passwords with anyone.
• “Stranger danger” should apply online. Tell your children to never friend a stranger and use the block feature if necessary.
You should always monitor your child’s online activity. This doesn’t mean you have to pry to the point they alienate themselves from you. You can still make sure they are safe while respecting their privacy and letting them enjoy their time online.