Top tips for keeping your kids safe on social networks
Social networks have become an almost essential part of kid and teen life. Much in a similar way to how mobile phones and pagers were popular in the 90’s/00’s.
Social media in general now has over 3 billion users worldwide. With this information at hand it’s easy to see why parents and carers may be concerned that their children are spending too much time on social media.
The pros and cons of social media for kids
To start off positive we have listed some of the pros that social media has to offer.
The pros of social networks for kids
- Social networks make it easier to stay in touch with family and friends.
- Find old friends that you have not seen for a while.
- Bring out their creative side by sharing and creating things with their friends and family online.
- Get involved with different groups that offer things they are interested in.
The cons of social networks for kids
- Personal details can often be found on your child’s social media profiles such as: Full name, Date of birth, School they attend, Interests, Town and city they live in and more.
- 17% of kids say they have been contacted by someone they do not know at all according to this source.
- Around 30% of kids say they have seen inappropriate advertisements on social media considering their age.
- Almost 40% of kids openly admit they have lied about their age online to gain access to websites where age is restricted.
- According to this anti bullying website a staggering 7 out of 10 kids aged between 13 and 22 have fallen victim to cyber bullying online in some shape or form.
- According to internet matters 1 in 3 children aged 12-15 may have been in contact with people they do not know via social networks.
What can you do as a parent to help keep your children safe online?
There are many ways and things you can do as a parent to help keep your kids safe whilst using the internet and social networks. We have listed 14 tips below that should help.
- Get to know what’s happening – Educating yourself as a parent is a good idea. To get involved yourself or at least learn how social networks and the internet works can help you better understand what your child is doing online. For example, being a friend on Facebook or the social network they are using will let you see some of what they are doing online.
- Establish age limits – Most social network websites have an age limit restriction of 13. Point this out to your kids and do not allow them to use social media until they reach this age.
- Talk to and highland potential dangers – Highlighting potential dangers and the consequences of using the internet and social networks can help. Showing your kids things that have happened to other kids (such as cyberbullying) could help them better understand the risks.
- Teach your kids how to protect their own privacy – Teach your kids that they should never hand out ANY details to anybody they meet online.
- Be the go-to-parent – Tell your child they must come to you if they see anything unusual or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Be sure to tell them you will not over-react or blame them for anything they have seen online.
- Keep their access to the internet in a place you can see – If they use a desktop computer or laptop keep it within your sight.
- Enable child safety filters – Some ISP’s offer this for free with the internet package and it allows parents to set strict filters on what content your children can view online.
- Set browser restrictions – If your ISP does not offer child safety filters then the next port of call is the browser that they use. You can often find free ways to restrict your child’s internet access via the browser they are using.
- If you child is using social network websites, make sure you set their privacy settings high so people they do not know cannot find there profile online.
- If you do agree that your child can use a social network, help them setup their profile.
- Be sure to teach your kids how they can block or mute someone on the social network they are using.
- Explain to your child that they should not accept or add any friends that they do not know.
- Set boundaries on what your child should and should not post.
- Be sure to highlight that when your child posts something online it can’t always be removed that easily.
Social networks can be a fun place for your kids, but you should always be sure to take precautions to help ensure their safety online.
Thanks for reading this article and be sure to leave you comments, advice and thoughts below in the comments section.