In today’s modern world, it is not uncommon for young children to have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Therefore, having a conversation with your child about proper online behaviour is more important than ever. Below are a few key pointers your child should understand when engaging with social media.
- Privacy settings can be changed to protect your child’s personal information.
- Your child could filter the ‘friends’ they accept on social media (For instance, choosing to only add close friends/family.)
- Ensure that your child does not reveal any personal information (such as their address or phone number) online.
- Emphasize the importance of thinking twice before posting. Nothing is ever really deleted on social media – a copy of your child’s photo or post will always exist somewhere, with their name attached to it. Therefore, ensure that your child knows what is appropriate to post on social media.
- For younger kids especially, it might be advisable to check on their online activity by asking for their login information. You could also download certain apps designed to monitor their activity for you. (A list of recommended apps can be found in this article).
- If your child’s social media usage is hindering their academic performance, sleep, social life, mental or physical wellbeing, limiting screen time might be a viable option. For instance, parents could try implementing a no cell-phone/computer policy at the dinner table or before bedtime. Parents could also use an app to set a phone curfew and restrict cell phone usage until after homework is done, for example.
Most importantly, speak with your child. Establish boundaries. Voice your concerns. Talk to them about appropriate online behaviour. The goal is to make sure they are staying safe online, while having fun.