In Today’s day and age kids are growing up with social media, which can be both positive and negative. Social media for kids, as for adults, is a means for connecting with others, expressing yourself, game playing, and exploring new interests. But for kids, it can also be a source of bullying, ill-intentioned adults, and inappropriate information.
While a number of kid friendly social media sites exist- many children access applications meant for adults, with or without parental permission. Facebook is meant for the ages of 13 and older, but some kids younger than that still have Facebook accounts.
Boundaries & Rules
The key to ensuring appropriate use of social media for kids is educating them about what it means to be a good cyber citizen. However, many schools have yet to implement such training, and some parents aren’t able to provide guidance because they’re still trying to figure out the digital world themselves.
Kids as well as adults need to understand the basics of privacy, boundaries, appropriate sites and interactions, and how much time to spend online in order to stay safe when using social media. In other words, kids need to be given rules such as, “Never agree to meet someone who you’ve only met and talked to online in person” “Never use swear words online,” or “Spend no more than thirty minutes per day online.” Setting rules and boundaries usually go over better if kids are given the chance to help set them.
Parent participation is another factor in keeping kids safe with social media. You can set a good example by limiting your time on social media sites. You can also help keep your kids safe by limiting the visibility of photos of them to people you know well and trust. Friending your kids on social media sites is a great way to monitor your kids by checking their profiles, and reviewing their friend lists.