Tips for Managing Your Child’s Social Networking Activities

shutterstock 222050107 mini Tips for Managing Your Child’s Social Networking Activities

While there are benefits to social networking for children, there are many downsides too. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study that indicates there’s an increased risk of cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting. While you may not want to prohibit your child from social sharing, it’s a good idea to make some rules and establish guidelines.

Age Appropriate – Facebook has age restrictions. You have to be 13 to have a Facebook account. This is a good guideline for many social media interactions. Require your child to wait until their 13th birthday, or until you’re comfortable with them being online. That includes sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Connect With You – One of the rules of social media should always be that your child must connect with you on the site. Of course, that means that you have to have an account on the website, and you must also monitor their activities.

Privacy Settings – Not all social sites have privacy settings. However, Facebook does. Make sure your child’s settings are set so that the public cannot see what your child is posting; only friends. This will help prevent your child from identity theft and inappropriate communications.

Monitor their Usage – One of the signs that a child is being cyberbullied is an exorbitant amount of time online, particularly on the social sites that are being used to attack them. Monitor your child’s usage with tools like NetNanny. Learn what sites they visit, how long they stay there, and their general online activity.

Teach About Internet Consequences and Dangers – It’s important that your child realize the consequences of sharing online. Nothing can be removed or taken back. Teach them to think long and hard before they post anything. Teach them to never give out personal information, and how to handle rude or harassing comments from others. Show them how to block people so they don’t have to deal with inappropriate comments.

Keep The Computer Centralized – Regardless of your child’s age, it’s always a good idea to keep the computer in a location that is central to the home. This makes it easier to keep an eye on the websites they’re visiting and to monitor their time spent on social sites.

Finally, be a good role model. If you and your child are connected on social media, they can see your posts too. Respect boundaries. Don’t post anything that’s inappropriate. Be positive and make sure that your activities are safe.

Your children look to you for guidance, support, and structure and that includes when they’re on the Internet. Social media is here to stay. Create rules for their interactions and take steps to ensure your child is safe.

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