We live in an age of constant connectivity, and if you have children then you know that they want in on the action. They’re captivated by social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and more. Unfortunately, we’ve all heard the dangers of social media, and we need to make sure our kids stay safe. No, social media isn’t totally safe and likely never will be, but there are ways to protect our children all the same.
It’s your job to educate both yourself and your children on the dangers of social media. In the first instance, it’s up to you to research the dangers, collect the facts, and arm yourself the best that you can. Then, the dangers need to be relayed to your children. Make sure they’re listening intently when you go through the hazards and lay the ground rules. If you can’t get their attention, make it clear that they won’t be allowed to use social media until they take the matter seriously. It’s very important that you all understand social media in order to use it safely.
If at all possible, it’s mandatory in our home, it’s beneficial to limit your little one’s social media usage to a home PC or laptop that is accessible by everyone. This means you can monitor their activity to ensure they aren’t talking to any suspicious individuals. It’s OK to sometimes check that your children aren’t putting themselves in danger with their social media activity. As a child, it isn’t always easy to determine right from wrong. It’s your job to do this on a semi-regular basis. There are safety tools available to assist parents but today, we’ll just focus on the basics.
We live in a world of micro-transactions, where every exciting app and game can be improved with real-world cash. For example, teenagers might want to get Instagram likes, buy an app, or upgrade their favorite Facebook game. It’s up to you whether you allow this, but if you do, set a limit. This is the perfect time to introduce your kids to a budget and make sure they understand that they are operating under one. Then, hold fast with the rules, once the budget runs out, it is out, you’ll spend no more. Whatever you do; make sure your card details are never stored.
Privacy is a very important factor when it comes to protecting your kids online. It’s important to understand how to monitor privacy with every form of social media. Limiting their pictures, videos and posts to their friends is the best way of doing this. Still, there will likely come a time when older kids will want to show off a bit and see how many likes they are able to get. The best way to do so is changing a post to public view, if you allow this, make sure they are not posting anything inappropriate or that could endanger their safety. For young kids, don’t allow it at all.
At the end of the day, remember that you are in charge and you hold the power. You’re trusting your kids to take responsibility for their actions, whether they’re six or sixteen! If you have set rules and they have been broken, punishments need to be set. You might block them from using social media for a week. You might take it away from them altogether! Whatever you choose to do, make it very clear that violating your social media rules won’t be accepted. Make sure they understand why the rules are there in the first place, too.
How do you manage social media in your home with children? We are always on the lookout for great tips for or home and to share with others!