7 Ways to Protect Your Kids on Social Media
Social media platforms have taken over the world and everything around us is all about social media reach, engagements and ads. It is almost impossible to keep your young children away from social media platforms and staying connected on the internet all day long.
While relatively new social media platforms like TikTok surpassed Instagram in 2021for the most users in the age of 12 to 17, other reports are also suggesting that social media platforms are adding up more and more active users every month. A 2021 poll found half of the parents with children ages between 10 and 12 and over 31 percent of parents having kids between age 7 and 9 have allowed their children to be active on social media.
While these numbers show that children would learn to communicate with their friends and the world would become smaller for them to learn new skills and capturing knowledge; it is also to take vital steps to protect your kinds on social media platforms.
Here are the seven ways you can use to protect your kids from social media risks.
1. Follow the Age Requirements
Majority of the social media platforms have their defined guidelines for their active users. Make sure you check those guidelines and follow the age group requirements for your children. If the social media strictly suggest users to be of a certain age, then skip those platforms to create a profile for your kid.
Famous traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok are for the users above 13 years and above. If your child isn’t of that age legally, then block their access to downloading that app on their smartphones. It might become difficult for you to enforce such rules on your young children as their friends might be using these sites. But, it is important to convey the right message and ask them to avoid using such platform before they reach a certain age.
A survey found many kinds under the age of 13 are already using social media sites. Results show that about 45% uses Facebook and 40% are on Instagram. While it might not be possible to keep your child off these platforms altogether, you may try taking steps and ask them to use these platforms safely once they reach the right age.
2. Keep The Communication Open with Your Child
One of the best ways to protect your child from anything is to have an open dialogue with them related to the topic. Talk to them about whom they should talk to online, understand who they are talking to and what they are trying to post on the internet.
Let them know that you are there to assist them and help them be safe. These steps will help them build trust with you and set the foundation for a long lasting relationship.
If you have younger children, talk to them about the potential risks of sharing personal information on the internet platforms. Teach them to check what they are about to share on the internet twice before posting. They should never share their addresses, phone numbers, school names or any personal information related to family online. Ask them to keep their passwords private from everyone else as well.
3. Teach Your Kids About Social Media Risks
Crucial part of keeping your kids safe on social media platforms is to make sure that they know the potential risks of using social media platforms. Things like Cyberbullying, predators and sexting might look interesting in the beginning, if not taken care, it might end up harming your children.
You should also make sure that your children learn how to report bullying or any other dangerous behavior they might encounter to you or other adults they might trust. This will help minimize the risks they face online and foster a safer digital environment on social media platforms.
Let them understand that not everyone on the internet they see is trustworthy. Also, let them know it is okay to go offline if they don’t trust an activity happening online. It’s better to take cautious steps before things get serious.
4. Define Rules for Social Media Usages
Rules are the most effective way to keep your kids away from social media to avoid unnecessary interaction happening online all day long and keep them safe as well. You can simply define time limits in your house to use social media and smart devices.
Also, make sure you are consistent with the rules and enforce them correctly. For example, no social media during study hours, no usage of particular apps at night time and setting a to-do list before they can access their devices. One more important rule is to make your child know that they tell you right away if an uncomfortable situation happens.
5. Keep Track of Your Child’s Privacy Settings
Your kids are more likely to change their privacy settings to get more connections and engagement on the content they create online. Thus, it is essential to keep a track of their privacy settings.
You do not want them to share anything that might get their account hacked. If you want to protect them on social media, explore what other apps they are loading while you are not around as well.
6. Encourage Your Child To Be Nice Online
A primary thing everyone should learn about themselves and teach their children is to behave nicely on social media platforms. Make sure you encourage your children to create friendly content on the internet and not indulge into any online fights to stay safe. It is necessary that you teach them to be respectful to others and not post anything mean or hurtful to anyone else. Positive interactions will help them create a constructive online environment for them and their friends.
7. Use Social Media Monitoring Products
You cannot be online with your kid all the time. Thus, you can invest into parental control apps or social media monitoring tools that will help you track your kid’s online activity, behavior and monitor data including insights. These software will alert you when your child interacts with some sensitive content online or posts something.
So, keeping kids safe online is an art of managing right communication, education and strategizing your actions in a constructive way.
Remember that there are clever predators out there who would seem to take advantage of inexperienced social media users, including your kids. Some might be there to check your personal information, some might be looking for your financial activities and some would just like to disturb your family’s peace.
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