Social Media guide for parents

July 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Social Media guide for parents

Social media guide for parents

Whether we like it or not, social media and the Internet have become a major part of our children’s life. Compared to our own childhood, kids these days are born into a very different world. It’s not a surprise then that many parents are confused with how to deal with the situation. They need a social media guide for parents.

At the same time social media and the Internet have benefits as well as downsides. They can be utilized for example in learning, socializing, communicating, passing time, creating one’s identity and countless other productive ways.

In the meantime, we have come to know the dangers and negative effects the Internet and social media have. Cyberbullying, Internet addiction, access to adult content, grooming, self-image issues… The list of the dangers of the Internet for kids goes on and on.

The situation is here to stay, so getting rid of the Internet and social media just isn’t a realistic solution. That’s why we need to teach our kids to use the Internet safely. That’s why with the help of our Internet security partner F-Secure we have compiled 7 tips to help teach your children to use the Internet safely.

1. Gain trust

To kids, the Internet and social media can feel like their own place, where adults and parents don’t belong. But as a parent you are responsible for your child’s safety. That’s why it’s important to gain their trust. Giving reasons why you are checking on their Internet habits instead of just setting strict limits can go a long way.

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that children are entitled to privacy as well. It’s often up to you to decide where the lines are drawn but do keep your child’s privacy in mind. Children of different ages have different needs. At some point, you will need to back down and give them more space.

It is also very important for your kids to know that when they encounter something unpleasant, they can come to you. Gaining and maintaining their trust to let you into their Internet habits is beneficial in multiple ways. For both the parents and the children.

2. Set an example

To raise your child to behave well you need to behave well yourself. The same goes for the Internet. If you do not want your child to learn questionable behavior, you might want to consider if you can improve yours. “Do as I say, not as I do” isn’t always a good way to go.

You can start by thinking about what you do and share in your own social media channels. It’s good to remember that sharing too much can be dangerous to you and your child. For example, posting funny anecdotes and pictures of your children might seem harmless, but they can be used to do harm. Your child can be bullied based on the things you share, and the pictures can be hijacked and posted on questionable web pages. And let’s not forget that your child has rights to privacy as well.

3. Educate yourself about social media

Chances are, that since you are reading this social media guide for parents, you are already doing something to educate yourself. Great job! But don’t stop here. It’s important for you to know what social media services your children are using. When you know the dangers and benefits you can better understand the situation. Additionally, you get to know the world your children are living in.

There are quite a lot of apps children use that we adults have no idea about. A good way to get to know them a bit better is to ask your child to teach you about them. By doing this you get a first-hand guide, get to know how the apps work, and you get to do something together. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea, you can also check out videos on YouTube.

4. Educate your children as well

Children may not be aware of all the possible risks related to social media, such as collecting user information, fraud, or just how vast the reach of the internet can be. What is posted in the internet may never be deleted.

One thing that is important for your children to know when they start to use the internet is that privacy is not a given. Most apps and services are gathering data about their users, and hardly anything on the Internet should be treated as private information. Children should be taught to avoid giving personal information when it’s not necessary, and when communicating with strangers, they might give out too much information about themselves.

Another important thing your children should know is that actions on the Internet have consequences just like in the real world. For example, bullying on the Internet is just as harmful to the victims. Some actions can even have legal consequences, and kids should be aware of possible age restrictions and why they exist.

Children should also know that not everything they read on the Internet is necessarily real. Even more importantly, they should know that not everyone on the Internet is who they say they are.

5. Accidents will happen – it’s up to you how you react

As we know, the internet is full of dangers. You can be sure that your child will encounter negative things. There is much they aren’t supposed to see at their age. It is important to let your child know that when something bad happens, they should come to you.

Children are curious by nature, and accidents will happen. If you chastise them for it, they might not dare to tell you next time. It’s better to give them praise for their courage in telling you. You can give them this advice in case they encounter bad things on the Internet:

  • Close the browser immediately
  • Talk to an adult
  • Do not share personal information, such as the name of your school, home address, location, or photographs. Those should only be shared with people you know.
  • Never meet in person with people you have only met online without the permission or presence of an adult

It is very important for the children to have a trusted adult they can talk to. And not only the negative things, but their joy and success too. Social media is important to our children. It’s good for them if you show interest in their activities. After all, the best way for children to learn to use Internet safely is when they use it.

6. Set rules

When you get your child their first device or a new one, you can make a physical contract with them about how it’s used in exchange for buying it. This sets out clear rules about what is allowed, what is not and what are the consequences of breaking the rules. This will also teach your children about real life skills as well. Here are some points to cover:

Location data should be kept off in all services

Always be fully clothed in front of a camera

Be suspicious of friend requests by strangers

Always ask your parents’ permission before meeting any online acquaintances

You need to have their permission before you take a photo of someone

You also need permission before sharing someone else’s pictures or information

Don’t bully anyone

Download new games or apps only after getting permission from a parent

7. SuperSafe Boost from TalkTalk can help you to enforce family rules

If you want to have better control over what kind of content your child is able to access on their device, you can use Online Defence internet security which is included as part of TalkTalk’s SuperSafe Boost. Its Family Rules function blocks all apps and websites not allowed by you to be installed on the device. This makes it harder for your children to get access for example to adult content.

And if you don’t want your children to spend too much time on their device, Family Rules can help you with this too. You can set time limits on device use and you can also make sure that the device can’t be used during night-time, so that your children will get enough sleep.

TalkTalk customers can get SuperSafe Boost by logging in to My Account and selecting SuperSafe Boost for just £3 per month. SuperSafe Boost includes Online Defence internet security which protects up to 10 of your family’s mobiles, tablets and laptops from internet nasties, plus a really helpful Password Manager to make logging in to your online accounts safe and easy – all of which is worth over £140 a year.