Social Media And Children: What Parents Should Teach Children About Online Safety

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 26, 04:00 am
Social media use among kids is inevitable and parents should teach young minds on how to use this best.
(Photo : MediaSmarts/YouTube)

The number of kids using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms is growing. Along with this, instances of cyberbullying and other online harassment, including human trafficking, are on the rise.

Some parents ban social media use in the household to prevent their children from becoming victims. The reality, however, is that social media use and being connected have become integral parts of the kids' lifestyle today. Instead of taking such privileges away from the kids, parents should instead teach their children about online safety and responsible use of social media.

Moms or dads must first emphasize privacy and confidentiality to their children. Apart from teaching them how to tweak public settings on social media platforms, parents must also remind kids not to impulsively share information online.

According to Madam Noire, it's best to encourage children to verbally voice out their problems or keep a journal instead of posting these online. If they choose to post some information or photos, however, they must carefully pick who from their followers can have access to this. 

"Know who your friends are," County Detective Katie Holquist said, via WBAL TV. "If you have a friend request on any platform, if you don't know them, delete them. Don't accept it," she added. Her advice applies to both parents and kids.

It might be good for parents to also be active on social media with their kids and follow each other to monitor what goes on their wall or profiles. Beyond online connections, moms or dads should make an effort to talk to their kids in person regularly and ask who they are getting chummy with on instant messaging platforms, according to Parenting.

Parents, however, must exercise care and caution or not go overboard with snooping and spying on their children online, especially with teenagers. According to WKYC, monitoring a child's social media usage is about helping parents and kids build stronger relationships. It's not about finding fault so that a parent can reprimand the child.

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