“What should I know about Instagram?” When I talk with parents, this is their top question. What do they need to know about the apps their kids are using and how to keep their kids safe. Trying to keep up with the latest social network and monitor social media is a full time job. Even the networks parents think they know come out with new features and new settings that may put kids more at risk.
Parents want their children to experience the positive aspects of the web and keep their children safe.
Drama and Cyberbullying
While these networks are fantastic for keeping in touch with friends, they are a source of drama. In a recent study by Pew Research Center, 68% of teen social media users have experienced drama among their friends on social media. This is especially true for girls. Girls, ages 12-13, report witnessing more online meanness compared to older teens and boys. They are also more likely than older teens or adults to have experienced in-person bullying. With teen girls, bullying often extends to cyberbullying. Lots of child safety tips are dedicated to keeping children safe from being cyberbullied, but the cyberbullying drama is still at the very top of social networks’ potential dangers list.
It is more than just drama. Teens are documenting their lives on social networks. While teens may think they are only chatting with friends, they are broadcasting their activities on a public network. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all rank high in search results. Unfortunately, these casual online interactions could end up affecting their future. For them, employers and colleges will meet them first online before ever meeting them in person. That is crucial duty of every responsible parent to keep their children safe from possible harmful results of their reckless activities in social media.
Parents are struggling trying to keep up to date on social networks and hardly check trust worthy resources for new child safety and home safety tips. Recently, Ask.fm surveyed parents and teens about their use of social networks and mobile apps. According to this study, half of parents (52 percent) said their biggest concern was how much time their teen spends on social media but 43 percent admitted they do not monitor their teen's digital activity. Almost half of parents surveyed have never used Snapchat and Instagram, among the most popular apps for teens.
The best way to teach your child about internet safety and protect kids online is being beside them online. Children and teens need their parents online to coach them on how to navigate these spaces safely and help them when they run into trouble. They will make mistakes. We all make mistakes. By being present, parents can make sure these initial online mistakes do not spiral into bigger mistakes.
5 Ways to Keep your Child Safe on Social Networks
Learn useful child safety tips and teach your child about Internet safety.
Sign Up Together.
The best way to understand how a social networks works and the problems a teen may encounter is by signing up with them. By joining and participating, parents will see how privacy settings work, what the limitations are for these settings, how to find friends and what type of content is shared. By being in these spaces, parents can give their kids useful safety tips and create age appropriate rules that make sense and that can be enforced.
Establish a Limit on Friends & Followers.
Privacy settings work great when kids limit their friends or followers. When 500 friends share with 500 more friends, 250,000 people can see the post. If a kid has over 500 friends, their accounts are essentially public. When they are first learning the ropes of a social network, parents should set a limit of how many friends or followers they can accept. Setting a limit forces teens to think about whom they want to share with online. As an added bonus, they have a built in excuse for why they cannot accept every friend request and avoid strangers.
Use Privacy Settings.
Online information is usually public by default. Before they start posting online, they need to review and change their settings. When at all possible they should set their posts and profiles to private. Most teens are looking to share with only their friends and classmates. By using these settings, they can make sure their activity matches their intent and keep your child safe.
Find out how to Report and Block.
Parents should discuss with their teen about what to do if someone sends them an inappropriate comment or message. Most social networks allow people to report mean comments and block other users from following them. Teens should know how to use these controls. Blocking and reporting are important tools for maintaining their privacy and keeping them safe online.
Think before sharing.
One word here – screenshots. This is how information shared only between friends can become public. Friends take screenshots of texts and pictures and post them on a public social network. Once these private messages are in the public realm, they can be difficult or impossible to remove. Remind teens, they should always think before they post anything online.
If this seems overwhelming, Familoop Safeguard is here to help with keeping your child safe. Familoop Safeguard offers protection and support for over 15 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. What is great about this parental control software is when a child signs up for one of these networks Familoop Safeguard starts right up. It analyzes what kids post and highlights areas of concern with a red flag. When these flags pop up, parents can talk to their child right away about accepting new followers, dealing with mean comments, oversharing or watching inappropriate videos. By staying up to date on their child’s digital activity, parents stay in the driver’s seat and able to teach their child how to share safely online.