How to Keep Your Children Safe from Social Media - Orchids School

How to Keep Your Children Safe from Social Media

How to Keep Your Children Safe from Social Media

Today’s children are more social media aware than ever before. At any given point of time, children can be seen using some form of social media to watch or read something or stay in touch with their friends.

Social media is more alluring to children now due to the easy availability of broadband, faster network, easy access to apps and services, and wide-spread proliferation of devices like phones, tabs, and computers. This is good for adults that need these services to stay productive and for business and leisure.

However, the questions one should ask are should children really need social media? Is it really good for them to socialize? Are they aware of the risks?

Depending on who you ask, the answers to these questions could vary. While some say children should have restricted access to social media and some would say there should be unrestricted use while some others would say children should not at all use social media.

The fact is social media has both pros and cons and the risks far outweigh the benefits. Between cyberbullying, sharing of information online, and giving into peer pressure, a child’s use or misuse of social media can turn into a serious nightmare both for the child and parents.

Here are 9 tips to keep your child safe from Social Media

  1. Educate the child about social media

Kids love social media and there are already aware of the popular apps and sites. Every child today has access to a smartphone and spends a major part of their non-academic day on phone watching a cartoon or browsing through Facebook and Instagram, chatting on WhatsApp or other sites and apps. If you observe your child is engrossed in social media, then the first task is to tell them about the dangers of spending time on them. Tell them that this is not the age to use social media or how it can impact their studies. Secondly, you must tell them about the situations they might get into if they don’t curtail their social media usage.

  • Establish age limit

Most social media sites have an age limit at which people can join them. Most social media sites require users to be 13 or older to create an account without their parents’ consent. Some sites like Youtube now have children’s version called YouTube Kids where they only have children-specific programs, cartoons, shows, and more.

  • Take control

If your child has set up a social media account or is already using social media, you need to take charge of their account in order to monitor the usage. You must also stay alert about keeping their privacy setting updated. If your children protest the invasion of their privacy, tell them clearly that it’s in their interest that their social media account is monitored. Children as such aren’t aware of the dangers lurking in the world and will happily accept friendship requests from anyone without analyzing whether or not the person is right.

  • Keep their profile private  

Almost all social media sites provide the option of making the account private. Make their account private so that only friends can see content posted by your child. This crucial step will ensure their content remains private and any misuse is prevented.

  • Prevent them from posting personal details

You must restrain your child from posting personal details like photos, school, and home addresses, phone numbers, check-ins in any of the social media sites. People with bad intentions might misuse these and cause harm to your child.

  • Choose a strong password

It’s easy for criminals to hack into an account so you must create a very strong password—with an alphanumeric combination—so that the account stays secure. However, you and your child must remember the password.

  • Tell them not to post anything

It’s easy for a child to post a video or photo and easier for people to bully your child. So the best thing here is to tell your child not to post anything.  While it’s true that children like posting videos or photos and with best intentions, there are possibilities that their friends or just about anyone might offense to the videos and photos and might bully the child. The bullying can take ugly turns sometimes. In fact, you must sit with them and talk to them about what kind of pictures should be posted.

  • Don’t accept friendship request from anyone

Children like becoming friends with new people and it’s this weakness of theirs that criminals take advantage of. Tell your child not to accept friendship from unknown people, whoever it might be, a stranger is just that- a stranger and unless your child doesn’t know him/her, there’s no way they should add them as friends.

  • Set rules for social media use

You must set strict rules about how and when they can be social. An hour or two every evening should be just fine and the less the better. Secondly, you must check their chat history to ensure that no untoward chats are being exchanged. Tell them to use social when parents are around and not behind them. Tell them the consequences of not using social media might lead to the phone being taken away or the account being closed permanently.

Age limits for social media and networking sites popular among children and some additional information about them. Note: This list only contains sites and apps that are popular in India.

  1. WhatsApp

Minimum age to signup: 16 Years

  • Instagram

Minimum age to signup: 13 Years

  • Snapchat

Minimum age to signup: 13 Years

  • Twitter

Minimum age to signup: 13 Years

  • Facebook

Minimum age to signup: 13 Years

Some additional tips you must know about online security:

  1. As social media is full of fake profiles, tell your child to be aware of imposters. These imposters pose as someone else, often as another child, and try to get in touch with other children. These are often older people that try to befriend young children and get information from them.
  2. You must also tell your child to never answer or attempt any questionnaires or quiz or events online as these are often run by hackers who can try to send malware into your computer or mobile device and steal banking or financial details.
  3. Your child must also be taught not to download any apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  4. You must always keep the computer in the common area of the house in order to monitor what websites your child visits. 
  5. If your child is old and tells you that he can manage social media for himself, then give him the freedom but ask him to add you as a friend so you know the kind of friends he has or information he is sharing online.

There have been thousands of reports about gullible children who have been targeted by criminals and despite our best efforts, children fall victim. Criminals are always smart, are one step ahead, and for the most time, leave no trace of their criminal activities. By following these steps, you will ensure that your child remains safe in the social world.