Kids and Social Media – The Hot Topic
When it comes to kids and social media, it can be hard as a parent to know exactly how to approach the topic. We are all too aware of the storm around social media safety for kids.
The variety of online accounts and apps can be a great tool for all children if used properly. They can connect with friends and family, share their creative ideas, and even meet other kids with similar interests.
However, there is also a lot of concern around social media safety for kids.
Why Social Media Safety For Kids Is Important
Being online via apps and accounts can be an ideal way for kids to express their uniqueness. They can learn to be responsible for their own decisions and have a lot of fun if done properly.
However, without close monitoring the usage of these accounts can significantly impact children’s lives, safety and mental health.
From online predators to cyber bullies, with kids and social media the internet can be a scary place.
Even if you teach your kids to use their accounts responsibly, it’s still important to monitor what they are doing.
Until they show maturity around their decisions we need to be aware of social media safety for kids.
If you’re wondering if you should allow your kids or teens to join online accounts and apps, there is no correct answer.
What is most important is to set clear rules and boundaries for kids and any social media usage.
Use their interest in these accounts as an opportunity to teach them how to interact safely and be responsible online.
Regardless of how old your kids are, the conversation around having these accounts will always come up. If they’re not asking yet it’s still important to be prepared for when they do.
Know where you stand when it comes to your kids and social media.
To help you navigate this challenging decision, we’ve come up with 5 top parenting tips for keeping your kids safe on social media.
5 Parenting Tips for Kids and Social Media
If you’ve never heard of TikTok or Tumblr how would you recognize them as online interactive sites?
The number one tip for social media safety for kids is to educate yourself.
If you do not have any online accounts yourself, that’s okay. You can still learn about the most popular sites or apps.
That way you can decide which ones you feel comfortable with your child using.
Gone are the days when the only sites that kids used were Facebook and Instagram.
If there are any you haven’t heard of take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them before talking to your kids.
Check Privacy Settings
Privacy settings are so important when it comes to kids and online accounts and apps.
Most of these online platforms allow for the account to be private, but it often has to be set manually.
With social media safety for kids being paramount don’t assume they have looked at their privacy settings. Check for them.
They may not know how to change the privacy settings or may not understand the importance of having them.
Continue to check their settings whenever you monitor their accounts. Many platforms update their settings frequently.
With kids and social media it’s important that you keep up to date on the latest privacy settings available.
Do a Weekly Check-in
Privacy isn’t the only potential issue when it comes to kids and social media.
Despite its many positive aspects, being online has a lot of negatives as well.
Social media safety for kids means checking regularly for any signs of bullying or other negative behaviors.
From unhealthy comparison to FOMO (fear of missing out) what kids see online often portrays something other than reality.
This tends to make the user feel like they’re not good enough or they’re missing out on something.
Doing a weekly check in is more than just checking the settings on your kid’s accounts.
Once a week, ask your kids how they’re feeling and how interactions with online accounts and apps is affecting them.
Pay attention to any signs of increased depression or anxiety, and make sure your kids are still developing healthy connections outside of the internet as well.
Tell Them What’s Okay to Share and What’s Not
Even with privacy settings intact, it’s still important for your kids to be careful what they share to any online account.
Although you may encourage them to only interact with people they know, their likelihood of coming across a stranger is high.
Kids on social media should know that it’s never okay to share personal information of themselves or the family.
If they post pictures on an app such as Instagram, talk to them about what kinds of pictures are appropriate.
It’s important for social media safety to know that people can find you based on the geography of the photos. It is well known that stalkers can find others through their street or school.
Set Clear Rules and Guidelines
There’s nothing wrong with your kids using online accounts if you believe they’re ready.
What is crucial with kids and social media is that the usage is regulated.
Setting clear rules and guidelines is paramount for social media safety for kids.
It is important to know you’re on the same page and they’re not getting any negatives from using these accounts.
Setting a time limit is an important guideline to have for any online usage.
Just because they’re allowed to have these accounts doesn’t mean they should be on them for hours a day.
The more time they spend online in apps and accounts, the more likely they are to feel isolated and disconnected from those around them.
It is more important than ever to be aware of the dangers with kids and social media.
According to a study done by Pew Research Center 80% of teens use an online platform.
Despite all the information we have about social media safety for kids these teens are sharing more personal information online than they have ever before.
In the world we live in it’s not a matter of if our kids will have these accounts, it’s a matter of when.
The best way to ensure our kids are safe is to monitor what they’re doing online.
Stick to the rules and guidelines you’ve put in place. With kids and social media, we can’t afford not to pay attention.
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