As a parent, you probably have your own Facebook and even Twitter account by now, but are you prepared for your child to explore the uncharted waters of social networking on their own?
Teens, preteens, and even children are using the Internet more than ever, with social media being one of the most popular venues. According to an Internet survey done by Cox Communications, 72% of teens have a social networking profile, and 47% of that group has their profiles available for public view.
This chilling statistic means that 47% of these teens can have their personal information accessed by anyone, anywhere online. This makes it more important than ever to protect your child’s privacy as a parent by teaching your child about the best practices to safely use social media.
• Teach your child to keep their information private online. Many kids don’t give a second thought to the information that they post online, which can be especially dangerous if it can be accessed by anyone. Walk your child through setting their social media profiles to private so that the information can only be viewed by their friends and family. At the very least, these privacy settings will protect your child in the future from posting any information that could cost them a job or professional connection.
• Become friends with your child on Facebook. While your child may want to keep their privacy in social media, it does help if you become their friend so that you can keep an eye on their conversations. Of course, you do need to respect your child’s Internet relationships by not bombarding them with conversations and comments, yet simply becoming their friend in social media will allow you to see their profile activity from a distance.
• Help your child to understand that all information posted online is permanent. Even if your child deletes a comment, it can often be accessed from an older version of the website on another person’s computer and continue to be circulated online.
• Discuss cyber bullying openly. Although you may hope that your child would never engage in this type of activity, cyber bullying is a real threat for today’s youth. Since the Internet provides anonymity, many teens are much more likely to make threatening or inappropriate comments to or about other people, which could have serious consequences in the real world. Cyber bullying still counts as bullying, so make sure that your child is aware of this issue in social media.
To put your best foot forward as a parent today, it is essential that you communicate with your child openly about social media. The social media trend is only going to continue to grow and impact our world, so the more prepared that your child is in their Internet use, the better.
About the author:
Bethany Ramos is an expert in social media and Internet marketing that co-owns her own business, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Best Bodum french press, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!