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Social Media and Child Safety

Today’s kids are more social media savvy than ever. With summer upon us, kids have more time to spend using their devices and social media. More now than before, people are sharing private information on the internet not knowing the consequences. While having access to the internet provides lots of opportunities, there are situations that can lead to dangerous consequences. How do you keep your kids safe on social media?

  1. Educate yourself. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and parenting expert, recommends that parents spend a significant time researching the types of social media that young adults and children have access to today. In some cases, creating your own profile on these sites to obtain firsthand knowledge of how the application works can be very helpful. Some apps that are popular these days include:
  • SnapChat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • KiK
  • Instagram
  1. Set an age limit. If your children are not currently using social media – have an open dialogue of when that might happen and what to expect when it does. If kids feel like they are not going to ever get access to social media, it may lead them to attempt to create secret accounts. Check with apps to see if there is a certain age limit to create accounts and then start your conversation from there.
  2. Help your kids understand consequences. Most children do not understand the consequences of dangerous behavior on social media. Discussing real life situations with your kids may shed insight on how easily available someone’s information can be on the internet. Make sure that your children know they can come to you without judgment and ask questions regarding social media use. Having this conversation will hopefully decrease the chances of your child sharing their location or information with someone they do not know.
  3. Keep the computer in a common area. Rather than allowing your child to keep a computer in their bedroom, move it to a common space in the household. This allows a parents to keep an eye on their children’s computer usage. Kids are less likely to engage in negative behavior if being watched by an adult.
  4. Set guidelines and rules. Establishing a set of guidelines or rules is a great way to encourage positive social media interaction with your child. For example, set a time limit on their social media, computer, or cell phone usage. Make sure your child understands the guidelines. Tip: don’t make the rules too rigid where your child feels they do not have any decision making power. This is a team effort!

For more on Amy Morin, or more tips on how to keep your child safe on social media – visit Amy’s website.

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