Staying Safe on Social Media
Posted on May 27, 2022 by CHS
The social media landscape is ever-growing, making it more critical for parents to help children navigate its many channels cautiously, responsibly, and respectfully. Whether it is via smartphones, tablets, or computers, children now have immediate, portable access to the internet, online gaming, and various other social media applications. Though monitoring a child’s access to social media can seem daunting, there are ways to guide children toward social media safety and help protect themselves online.
When it comes to electronic devices, establishing and exemplifying self-control can be a strong foundation to build on. From an early age, encourage children to seek enrichment outside of the digital media world. Set an example by limiting access to electronic devices for both yourself and your children and help preserve an environment that is free from digital over-stimulation and that generates entertainment from organic interaction. By placing use of electronic devices behind fundamental family social activities, families make space for experiences free from electronic devices.
Talk it Out
Parents must first discuss with their children the importance of safety before allowing them to participate in social media. Establish clear guidelines that will help children identify the dangers of online predators and bullies. Advise children to use only trusted, secure platforms and talk only with people they know in real life. Inform children of the potential types of online communications that are red flags and should be immediately reported to an adult. Children may be influenced or encouraged by their peers to communicate in different, sometimes disrespectful, ways due to the presumed anonymity of the internet. It is important to discuss the dangers of online peer pressure and the powerful right to say “no” to unwanted propositions or suggestions.
It is vital to monitor children’s online activities as regularly as possible. Because children are more susceptible to online deception, they should not be allowed to navigate the internet without adult guidance and oversight. It is essential to know and approve any social media apps a child uses, and it is especially important to utilize the parental controls when available. Parents should regularly check their children’s profiles and posts and maintain communication with their children regarding their social media conversations and interactions. Establishing regular communication with children may help parents notice any dramatic changes to their social behavior (a possible indication of an incident ), allowing parents to provide further support and guidance.
For more information and tips on safe social media practices, please see the below references and resources.
References and Resources
- Social Media Safety from the Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Keeping Children Safe Online from The United States Department of Justice
- A Teens Guide to Social Media Safety from Safe Search Kids
- Cyberbullying, Social Networking, and You from Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
- Social Media Guidelines: A Guide for Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers Using Social Media from the Oregon Department of Human Services, Child Welfare
- How to Keep Your Teen (or Tween) Safe Online from Safewise
- Teaching Kids to Be Smart About Social Media from KidsHealth
- Kids and social media: Online safety tips every parent should know from Norton