5 Tips To Keep Your
Child Safe on Social Media
I enjoy social media, it is the first thing I check after waking up and the last thing I check when going to bed. Could be in part because I am a Millennial, or maybe because I am also a marketer. More than ever people are signing up for different social media apps. According to estimates, there are 1.96 billion social media users worldwide with an estimated growth to 2.5 billion by 2018. That is a lot of people, and many of them are young vulnerable children that don't completely realize how dangerous the internet is. In this blog post I will be giving out safety tips and some provoking thoughts you may not have considered. Make sure your child is safe online. Be nosy parents; I give you the go ahead!
1.) Educate Yourself
Take the time to educate yourself on the social media network/s that your child is begging to sign-up for. My advice: create your own profile and learn the in's and out's of how the app works. Not all social media sites are the same, you need to understand the different risks with each social media platform. Many social media sites require that your child be 13 years of age. This is because of The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) this prevents companies from collecting personal information about children under the age of 13 without their parents' permission.
2.) Make Sure Your Settings Are Very Restrictive
Update all of your settings when setting up a social media account. If you are unsure of what your settings are, or even where to find your settings. Below is a great article how to update privacy settings for social media.
3.) Be Selective Of Who You Accept On Social Media
Facebook is not a competition of "Who Has More Friends?" Only accept invites from trusted sources, this should be people that you actually know. Many sex offenders use social media to look online for their next victim. Since, all social media apps require your child to be 13, being truthful and blunt about uncomfortable situations that could arise, and ensure your child that they can talk to you about anything. Good tip: come up with real-life situations that could happen and discuss with your child how they should react to that situation.
4.) Stop Oversharing, It Can Be Dangerous!
We now live in a world where you share every detail about your personal life. That's great, but you can put yourself in a dangerous situation that you never intended to be in. Almost all social apps track you in some way. GeoTagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and SMS messages. While this can be a very cool feature, I recommend changing these settings for children. It is not difficult to look where an individual is frequenting, and with the help from Google Maps the bad guys can also see what your home looks like.
5.) Know Who Your Child Is Talking Too
Many child predators will pose online as a younger child and try to befriend them. Children can share sensitive information without knowing the dangers. Such as what school they attend, or their address. The predator usually starts grooming the child and possibly trying to lure the child away from home or meet up with the child somewhere. That is when they strike, and this moves onto a kidnapping situation or worse. Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, states that an average of 57 percent of children come home alive and 40 percent are killed. The rest remain open cases. Many children are brought back home alive, mainly because of the advancement of laws, technology, and with the birth of the Amber Alert.
Not only as parents do we need to be worried about strangers talking to our children, but sadly we also have to be worried about cyberbullies. Bullying can take on many forms, and the internet makes it much easier for the bully to hide behind a screen and torment your child, or possibly your child is the bully. Suicide statistics in the US show that the third leading cause of death amongst people between the ages of 15 to 24 is suicide, and victims of bullying are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider talking their own lives.
Keep the lines of communication between you and your child very open. More than anything, look over their shoulder or take their device and see what is going on in their life. Yes, your child will probably get upset, but privacy is a privilege.
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“Bullying and Suicide Statistics in US, Australia and New Zealand.” NoBullying - Bullying & CyberBullying Resources, 26 Mar. 2017, nobullying.com/suicide-statistics/.
Goldberg, Barbara. “Missing Children in U.S. Nearly Always Make It Home Alive.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 26 Apr. 2012, www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-missing-children/missing-children-in-u-s-nearly-always-make-it-home-alive-idUSBRE83P14020120426
Hendricks, Drew. “The Shocking Truth About Social Networking & Crime.” Socialnomics, 17 Nov. 2016, socialnomics.net/2014/03/04/the-shocking-truth-about-social-networking-crime/.
“Security Tip (ST06-003).” Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites | US-CERT, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, 5 June 2015, www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST06-003.
wikiHow. “How to Avoid the Potential Risks of Geotagging.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 27 June 2017, www.wikihow.com/Avoid-the-Potential-Risks-of-Geotagging.