Here are four tips to keep kids safe on social media.
1. Don't let your kids have a piece of technology or an app that you do not understand.
Children are naturally technologically savvy. They already learn through trial and error in the real world, so they utilize this skill when it comes to social media and technology. Many media platforms link to other places that may be inappropriate for children. According to Jeana Lee Tahnk in Parenting Magazine's article, "13 Tips for Monitoring Kids' Social Media, "it is every parent’s responsibility to know exactly which key features are included in the gadgets our kids are using." That means that before you let your child use Instagram, you should get one yourself. And, before you let him or her log into Snapchat, you should have your own profile. If you are knowledgeable in these social media platforms, you will be able to teach your child to stay away from the risky parts of these apps and monitor their activity.
2. Apply filtering software.
There's software available to filter out the bad stuff on the world-wide web. Net Nanny, PureSight, and Covenant Eyes are good programs that you can buy at affordable rates. These sites will block some websites that Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook might lead your child to. They are a great investment in keeping your child's online world safe. Also, all iPhones have a built-in filter system! It's free, and you simply need to set it up. This post from iMore walks you through the steps to do just that.
3. Have open conversations about social media with your children.
Some kids just see social media as an essential plaything in their lives and do not understand its power. Explain to your kids that what they put on the internet stays on the internet. Also, help them understand that there are real people behind the squares and that whatever they say truly affects others. Encourage your children to connect with friends face-to-face and be intentional about spending quality time as a family so they learn to value time away from their screens -- things like family dinners, game nights, and vacations.
4. Have a place to keep technology at night.
Make it a nightly ritual to take your kids' phones and computers before bed. This serves as another checkpoint and technology boundary to protect their minds and emotions until they are mature enough to manage themselves. Plus, they'll sleep better without the distraction of text messages and social media alerts.
We'd love to hear your technology safety tips! Share in the comments below.
At GAC, students learn to use technology responsibly and safely for advanced learning and to gain the skills needed for an ever-changing 21st century workplace. Our families are encouraged to spend quality time together without their devices on 'Unplugged' family nights where students have no homework, quizzes, or projects due the next school day. Browse our site to learn more about our innovative curriculum and how are students are using technology in a positive way.