BLOG: A very controversial topic I’m sure. How old is old enough? Is Instagram safer than Facebook? Is Facebook safer than Twitter? And so on…
These are questions many of us are asking as our children enter into phase “tween” and for some even earlier. My daughter is 10 and recently began to take interest in social networking, Instagram to be precise. After a little deep thinking I decided, sure why not. Profile set to private. Posts and comments scrutinized by me. What could go wrong? Well, plenty. So far so good but we are certainly still in the” probationary period”. Here are a few tips to help you monitor your child’s entrance and existence in the big bad world of social networking.
- GROUND RULES! Absolute must and must nots. If your child is old enough to be using the internet, then they are old enough to understand and obey your rules.
- Privacy settings, privacy settings, privacy settings.
- Be aware of what sites your kiddo is frequenting and if/what/who/how they are interacting. Be sure you ALWAYS have full access to each and every account. (The downside to this is you will have to learn to navigate thru each and every networking site and you know what they say… Old dog, new tricks. Stay strong fellow non-techies, we can do this)
- Monitor the pictures your child is posting online. Be it of themselves or with friends, make sure they are appropriate. *Lip-glossed duck face at age 10 does NOT work for me, we traveled that road on Day 2* It’s also fun to throw in an embarrassing “mom” comment once in a while!
- Be a good example. I already know I have some work to do here, as I can be an incessant Facebooker. Encourage your little ones to do activities outside of cyberland. Read a book, draw a picture, have a lemonade stand- anything! It’s fun, I promise!
- Remind your kids that the things they say and do online are just as real as the things they say and do offline. This includes: Bullying and picking, bragging, over sharing, over exposing, keeping it age appropriate etc etc. This brings me back to lip-glossed duck face- NOT okay!
At the end of the day, social media can be and is a fun and creative outlet for tweens, teens and adults. Just be safe out there!!