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Social Media Tips for Parents

Screen time when you were growing up, probably meant time spent in front of the TV or playing video games. Today, screen time is often on tablets, smartphones, and computers (although computers are even going by the wayside). Access to information and social media has opened up a whole new world for our kids and along with it a lot of worry for parents.

Below are a few basic guidelines parents should consider in helping their kids navigate social media safely.

Start kids out with simple SMS texting: Texting today is a crucial skill for kids and teens. It’s how they make plans, talk, and share. Start your kids out with the text function on their smartphones, it’s easier to keep tabs on. There are many texting and messaging social media platforms out there they will eventually want to use that requires more effort for parents to monitor.

Research: It’s important for parents to educate themselves on the various social media platforms their children want to use, before they start to use it. Parents may want to set up their own account to experience the social media platform first-hand and determine what parental controls or privacy settings are available to help safeguard their kid. Common Sense Media is a great resource for reviews on social media sites, apps, movies and more, as well as offering parents a lot of information on safeguarding their children.

Privacy settings: Activate as many privacy settings that are available on social media sites. Keeping posts to only friends, as opposed to friends of friends, will provide even more protection. Some apps will provide parents with notification when a friend request is sent. It may also be worth purchasing an ad free version of apps to keep marketers at bay. It is, also recommended to check the privacy settings frequently to make sure they were not changed by your kid.

Revealing too much information: Have a conversation with your child about revealing too much information and what that means. For example, don’t share phone numbers, physical addresses, what school you attend, your current location, etc. If settings allow, turn off GPS and tagging friends’ names and locations as well.

Befriending: Only become friends with people you know. Despite what your kids may think, social media is not about how many friends you know. It’s about sharing and communicating with the friends you have in your offline-life.

More Resources

Keeping Your Connected Home Secure

Adding parental controls and securing connected devices is important to help prevent children in the house from accessing inappropriate content and managing privacy.