You will find children are glued to their social media. They are either tweeting between lessons or updating their Facebook status on their phones at break. The younger generations are in constant communication with their peers. This makes all the more important for parents to ensure children are safe and the issue of privacy is tackled as a priority!
The definition of privacy changes in the modern age – it is important to ensure that your child is posting safely and responsibly on all social networks.
According to Pew Research, nearly 72% of young adults and teens use social networking sites. Most of these require the users to be at least 13 years old, although a May 2011 Consumer Report found 7.5 million children aged 12 and under with a social profile.
We all know Facebook is becoming to have a larger presence in the lives of our younger generation. Children will need to know what information is OK to share and what appropriate behaviour on these sites is.
With the horrible threats of online predators, hackers or cyber-bullies being real and very relevant, it is important to prevent your child’s profile from being accessible to strangers.
I’d recommend you review the following issues with your little ones to ensure they know what is and isn’t OK on their social media profile:
- Everything shared online is permanent and will be on the internet permanently. Make it clear to your child that even when a photo or message is deleted by them, others may still be able to copy it, screen-shot it, forward it and so on. Therefore, they must think carefully before they post anything.
- Personal information should not be shared – never post a phone number, email address, home address. Even tagging location, school or schedule should not be allowed.
- Your online friends should be people you know! Once you accept a friend invitation, the profile can be viewed. Talk though what to do if strangers contact them and make sure they know to speak up if they are uncomfortable with messages they receive.
- Help them select the photos they post and ensure they are appropriate – remember any photo can be copied and forwarded, bullies will use them to be malicious.
- Discuss sharing other people’s posts and remind them not to be unkind to others on social networks. It may have many serous consequences, even legal ones possibly.
- Ensure they are comfortable to talk through what happens online with you. Ask them questions, even when they are not happy to discuss. The more you ask the more ‘normal’ talking about it will become.
It is important to remember social networking is not a bad thing. The American Psychological Association points out that shy teens and pre-teens can learn how to socialise behind the safety of their computer screens and mobile devices.
Do remember the key is always safety!
Until next time,