Do you have kids? Do your kids have a cell phone? An iPod? An iPad? If you answered yes to all those then I’d like to ask - would you like to adopt a grown woman? Because I just happen to know one that would really love an iPad. No, but seriously, if your kids have these devices then it’s time we talk about safety. Social media safety. Intrigued? Here are some tips:
Educate yourself and learn about the apps and programs your kids are using by signing up for them yourself. I’m sure it’s so embarrassing for your mom to “friend” you on Facebook or your dad to “tweet” to your Twitter account but those are rules you can make. Check status updates and pictures to get a glimpse of your child’s life when they’re with their friends. My uncle, who has three teen daughters, makes it a rule that he has their username and password for all social media accounts to remind them that they need to follow the house rules- even when online- and he could check those accounts if he felt it was necessary. Will it make you a popular parent? Probably not. Will it help keep your child safe in the long run? Probably.
The rule in our house growing up was that the computer had to be used in the office, which had my parents walking through it all the time. Any attempts to “hide” my AOL instant messages were pretty much impossible. Now, with kids having smart phones they carry the internet wherever their phones go. It’s not possible (or worth the fight) to have your kids keep their phones and iPods in the family room 24/7 but you could consider making it a rule to keep phones in a common family room from curfew until morning.
You already discourage gossiping and bullying in person, but make you to reiterate those same rules for social media. For some reason, kids don’t always seem to think that posting hurtful things online are as bad as saying it in person.
Hormone driven teenagers may be tempted to send inappropriate pics over the phone so remind them that once those are sent, anyone can really see them. If they roll their eyes (because as a parent you don’t know anything, of course) inform them of legal consequences that can come from sending, receiving, or forwarding these pictures. As parents you might not be that intimidating but the law
There is a lot more information on social media safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics so make sure to check out that website. What has worked for your kids?
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