Are You Really Keeping Your Children Safe Online? Find Out How to Right Now.
Social media is taking over the planet, and the millennials of this age are leading the army. As of this writing, estimated that 80% of all teenagers are using social media in one capacity or another. More than likely they’re using a mobile app that you’ve never heard of or logged into.
And while it’s true that through the help of social media, this generation is becoming more global-minded and interactive, it does have its fair share of dreadful drawbacks.
“Cyberbullying” is a common problem now among teens, it can lead children to become depressed and insecure about themselves. It entails the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
According to studies, this drift is spreading like wildfire so that 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberbullying. In other words, without proper guidance, it could lead to a serious problem. Also children may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying which leads to secret behavior and a disconnect from their parents.
In an era where the term “Facebook Depression” is a real concern, early exposure to inappropriate content is now acceptable by social norms, and peer pressure is stronger than ever. So it’s about time to start navigating social media for yourself.
As parents, controlling your kid’s movement on social media, and limiting their shared information are your responsibilities now.
There comes a point when you, as a parent, start to wonder, “What is my child posting on Facebook, and should I allow them to have access to social media?”
It’s a question you have to deal with each passing day and you must not ignore it, as teenagers become more intertwined virtually with social media. You as a parent should stay informed and must involve yourself effectively to help your children make wise decisions and stay safe online.
A comprehensive study was recently conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the impact of social media has on kids. The surprising result is not entirely bad after all! Although we take account of the benefits of these various websites, there can be serious downsides too.
As much as you are preparing your kids to face life in the real world, you should equip yourselves in ways to prepare them for the life online.
Educate yourself first
As parents, you should dedicate time to perform research. Acquaint yourself to the different social media apps and familiarize yourself on these platforms that your kids are using. Go as far as creating your own profile account and experience them firsthand to understand the different services and features these apps offer to its users
Here are some of the most popular social networks kids are using:
- Facebook– Without a doubt, it is the No. 1 social networking platform today. Facebook comes with an instant messaging called Facebook Messenger where images, videos, and links can be shared to contacts. Almost everything can be shared on one’s Facebook feed as far as films or movies. Without filtering one’s privacy, all the details of your children can be seen publicly.
- Snapchat– Released in 2011, teens have the ability of sharing photos, videos, doodles, and drawings to their network. Contents or posts can be timed and expire on a period allowed by the user.
- Instagram– Before, Instagram is just a photo sharing platform where your kids can share artistic images beautifully captioned and can be tagged with a location. Today, Instagram is like Snapchat where timed images or videos can be shared.
- Whatsapp– One of the most used social messaging app, users can send text messages, images, videos and voice recording.
- Twitter– Unlike Facebook, this app is more simple and plain. Your children can follow their favorite actors, brands, authors and other users. Usually, a user can post his/her current status, thoughts or comments, which could influence his/her followers.
- Vine– Users are limited to creating six-second videos by pressing or holding down your finger on the screen.
- Youtube– Very seldom that kids make a Youtube account but they have access to Youtube to watch lengthy videos of almost anything like music videos (with lyrics), films, advertisements, as well as tutorials.
- Tumblr– This app is basically a blog-sharing platform where written articles, mostly thought-invoking, are shared. This could be a platform where your children can train to be a good writer and at the same pour their current emotions.
Familiarize yourself with the Privacy Settings
Privacy settings are there for one reason – to keep you and your child safe. Social media platforms have no ill-intent to spread personal information to the world.
However, most people are sadly unaware of each platform’s safety guidelines. Thus, this ignorance for proper online literacy often leads to future issues in terms of privacy.
Here are the guidelines for the popular social media platforms:
No Underage Facebooking
Be familiar with certain rules and regulations implemented by popular social media platforms. Facebook rules do not allow children who are under the age of 13 to join the community.
Facebook knows that it’s impossible to fully implement this on a global scale. Children are getting wiser these days, and they can easily change the year of birth. Facebook enforcing this policy is unlikely at best.
Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook? However, there is no real way for Facebook to truly enforce it because anyone can change information about their year of birth.
Regularly Check for System Updates
Social network has the tendency to change their privacy settings alongside with their system updates occasionally.
This is often overlooked – once you get a notification on your phone that an application has been updated, it’s best to ensure that the settings remain safe and secure.
In addition, when the developers have added a new feature for their application, you need to thoroughly checkout its usage and what’s it for.
Follow the Latest Trends
Social media homepages are just filled with the latest trends, and the flow of how teenagers interact thru social media is greatly dependent on the trending topics. The use of hashtags is a great way to keep yourself updated on social media events.
Consequences of social media and the long life of online content.
Sit down with your kids and discuss how easily accessible their information is, especially when shared publicly. Remind them the impact of photos, comments and any social discussion they are active into.
Remind them how powerful the online world is and even photo or a message accidentally posted online without the intent of sharing it can be captured in milliseconds. In this way, your children will likely to think twice before sharing anything online.
Once these contents get in the wrong hands it is impossible to delete existing hard copies.
Build together a positive online character and reputation
Employers these days require applicants to write down their Facebook profile. Since Facebook can reveal a great deal about your child’s interest and activities, these could be a factor on whether to hire them or not.
While they are young, let them know that what they share on social networks could open doors for the future…or close them.
Together with your child, assess and review what they have created online. Delete those posts or photos that give a bad character to your child and prevent damage as early as possible. Make sure that what they post and share is not offensive or malicious. Instead, tell them or help them create a portfolio of accomplishments or a road map of activities that will render a positive effect to them and to the community.
Being a parent is being a lifetime mentor
By being continuously aware and knowledgeable on different social network platforms, you will be confident to deliver and address any concerns that threaten the welfare of your child in the online world.
Let them know real situations that happened due to oversharing online. Show them evidence of crimes that were conducted just by communicating online most especially to strangers.
Technology has brought us closer and made means of communications faster and easier. The social network evolves very fast so everyone has to keep their pace and not to be left out especially the teenagers.
As a parent, don’t tie yourself to old norms and don’t be afraid of technology. Don’t just leave your children in front of their gadgets. Start acquainting yourself to social media and together with your children, you will both create a healthy and prosperous relationship online.