Technology advancements for social media apps and websites are happening so quickly parents may not see the dangers for their children as they occur. There are details about children online through social media even before they are born (pregnancy announcements for example). Parents with children that use social media owe it to themselves and their children to learn about social media dangers facing kids. Not only does this help parents be prepared in helping their children understand what they can and cannot do, it encourages kids to use apps and websites more responsibly. Here is information parents should know to keep their children safe when they engage in online activity.
Parents should discuss the effects of cyberbullying with their children. It applies to young children and teens since it can occur at any age. Depending on the age of your children they may or may not understand the effects of bullying others online. Parents should encourage their children to discuss the subject if the child is a victim of bullying. Parents should also let their children know they shouldn’t engage in the activity or people who do it. Ask the child would they want to be treated this way and why they shouldn’t to others.
Sharing photos with people you know can be fun. Unfortunately, some kids who share photos may not realize who they are sharing them with. Kids may share photos with someone a parent doesn’t know. Parents should discuss sharing photos only with people they know and why it is dangerous to share with someone they don’t. People can learn the location of a child through a photo. Sensitive information could be seen a photo by a predator or stranger.
Talking to Strangers
The aspect of talking to strangers in person pretty much applies online. Parents often tell their children don’t talk to strangers. But if they have a social media profile and they get contacted by a stranger will they know what to do? Parents should discuss the dangers of children communicating with strangers online. Younger children may not see the harm in talking to someone that seems friendly, but many apps children use are targets for predators or those with wrongful intentions. Encourage your children to communicate with people they know in real life.
Sharing Too Much
A number of social phycologists feel children may be sharing too much information about themselves when online. In some cases it is true and such reveal can attract strangers with bad intentions. For example, children shouldn’t reveal details about their exact location or where they are going. Parents should mention why it is important to keep such details private. Parents should also be respectful of age restrictions in place for certain apps and social media platforms to help children stay safe. For instance, Facebook has a policy that prevents children under the age of 13 from creating an account. Parents that let their child have an account need to stay on top of their activities.
Whatever You Post Stays Online Forever
Parents need to help their children understand content they share online stays there permanently. If they share a photo it can be shared with someone else who may decide to keep a record of it. So, if the original gets deleted it could be found by another person. The same is true for written content, videos, and so on. Parents should discuss potential consequences down the road if the content is deemed inappropriate. In some cases, it could be used against them if they engage in online illegal activity.