Each day I hear someone say, “I really don’t know how to handle this.” What makes my head turn is the fact that this person is referring to the internet and social media. The internet is a part of our lives and it is not going anywhere. We all need to step up to the plate and do our part when it comes to keeping our kids safe online.
There has been discussion that kids are leaving Facebook, when in fact they are still there and actively involved in several other social media platforms that Mom and Dad do not know exist. Sue Scheff, really dove into the Are Teens Really Leaving Facebook issue. If you ask kids, they will tell you they are everywhere when it comes to social media.
Here are two tips to keep you and your family a little safer online.
#1 Tip: There Are No Do-Overs When It Comes To Online Activity
From words to pictures, once these are posted online they are there forever. Kids like to argue that Snapchat is great because the photos disappear. Keep in mind, there are data bases and screen shots everywhere in our world today. Once it’s online, it’s there forever. This is something our kids cannot hear enough of, it bears repeating day in and day out.
#2 Tip: Know Where Your Kids Are Going Online
Most major cell phone carriers offer parental controls for smart phone users. Parents can follow where their kids go online and help their kids choose smart apps. If your kids are under the age of 13, you may want to think how they will utilize their smart phones. Most social media platforms are not designed for a child under 13 years of age. If you do opt to lie about your child’s age, be sure you have the passwords to all of their accounts. Should a cyber bullying issue come to light between kids, law enforcement often contacts the owner of the account. If you have been an active participant in your child’s online activity, you should have an idea that this visit was coming. It’s beneficial for parents to understand where their kids are going online and how to use all of the apps themselves. My advice- If a parent does not understand how an app works, there is no reason for a child to have the app installed on their smart phone.
Parents can lead the way when it comes to teaching their kids internet safety. By being active participants with their kids on their smart phones, families can utilize technology in a good way. If Mom and Dad are Facebook friends with their teens, it’s important for Mom and Dad to follow the rules, as well. The same rules apply to Moms and Dads that apply to kids, once it’s online it’s on the internet forever.
So, the next time you decide to post something online, maybe think about the “Grandma Rule.” If you would want to show your post to your Grandma, by all means, post it! If you even have to ask yourself, “Is this post OK?” Do NOT post it!
Are you and your family enjoying your smart phones or are you struggling with how to use them? I’d love to hear about your experiences, as I know we can all learn from each other.