Talking to Your Kids about Social Media

June 15, 2015

There are plenty of good things about social media, but there are also many potential dangers and things that you want your children to avoid. Kids don’t always make the smartest choices when they post something to a site like Facebook or YouTube. It’s important for parents to teach their kids how to use social media wisely.

Social media can be a positive part of your kids’ lives. They can stay connected with friends and family and share their ideas and interests with like-minded individuals. Unfortunately it’s also a hub for cyberbullying, illegal activities and predators.

It’s important to know what your kids are doing online, but prying too much can alienate them and damage the trust you’ve built together. You want to stay involved in a way that makes your children understand that you respect their privacy but want to make sure they don’t come into harm. Here are some helpful hints to help you do just that:

These are real people

Remind your kids that there are real people on the other end of every profile picture. Make it clear that you expect your kids to treat others with respect and courtesy. There is no need to post hurtful or embarrassing messages about others. Encourage them to tell you about any harassment they witnessed themselves online.

Think twice before submitting

Remind your kids that what they post can be used against them. Letting the world know that you’re off on vacation or posting your home address gives potential robbers a time and a date to strike. They should also avoid posting specific locations of parties or events. They should never post their phone number online either. This information should be given out in person only to trusted individuals.

Privacy settings

Go through the privacy settings on social sites together to make sure your kids understand each one of the options and their implications. One point to drive home is the importance of passwords. Explain that passwords are there to protect them against things like identity theft and should never be shared with anyone, including best friends and crushes.

Don’t accept friend request from just anyone

Simply put, don’t befriend someone you haven’t met in person. Clicking “add friend” might seem harmless, but “friends” on social sites have access to your photos, posts, and personal information. You do not want someone that you don’t know to be able to see your daily activities. It’s not safe.

As long as your kids are aware of the risks of social media, they can enjoy the positive side in safety.

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