For parents, it’s hard to navigate this new, modern part of parenting — that is the world of social media. Social media is not bad, it is one of the best things that has happened in the 21st century – Well, it connects you to your family, friends across the globe, it allows you to share information quickly over the internet, brands and businesses have been using it as an advertising platform to increase their revenues! So, no social media platforms are not bad at all, as long as the individual using them knows the risks and responsibilities and more importantly are not underage to use this platform.
Children have become extremely comfortable with tech but as parents, you might forget that they’re still absorbing the world and its ideologies and may not be prepared for the risks and pitfalls of being constantly connected — especially when it comes to social media.
As good as they are (the social media apps), they do have certain risks – and when it comes to children using them, you need to be all the more careful.
So what should you (parents) know about the social media world?
First, let us introduce you to some of the popular social media applications:
A platform where users can upload photos and videos. These photos and videos can be viewed by certain followers who follow the account or everyone can view it if the account is set to public. People can like and comment on the images and videos. The platform also has a direct message feature that allows people to chat in groups or with one another. Strangers can send message requests as well – These chats allow sharing of texts, images, GIFs, emojis and videos.
A user can also broadcast a live session on this platform – Maybe give a music performance, a talk or just a casual conversation with the followers.
A popular messaging app, WhatsApp allows users to send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or groups with no message limits or fees. People can create various groups and add you to them – you have the right to exit the group/leave it if the group contents are not appropriate or non-relevant to you.
Whatapp also has a voice-calling and video-calling feature that allows you to contact your friends and other saved contact members.
WhatsApp Status is another feature that lets you add a picture/quote/write-up and upload it as a status that remains open for viewing for 24 hours. These stories have privacy settings and can be hidden from some contacts or can be shown only to certain contacts.
A popular photo-sharing app, having several filters that can be added to the photos. Snapchat lets users share pictures and videos for a preset length of time. Users can also chat on the app. Content will disappear when that time runs out. But people can still take screenshots and save the content. The Discover feature may allow children to have access to inappropriate content.
The most popular social media platform. This widely used social media app lets users share pictures, videos, website links, etc. Users can comment, share and like these content publishings. It also has an instant messaging feature.
Now that you know what these platforms have to offer, you can go ahead explore them yourself or read more about them. But first, make sure to set ground rules. Setting up these rules may help relieve some of the anxiety that comes with parenting and social media and also keeps your children safe.
- Advise your child never to approve friend requests or add people that they don’t know in real life. Site examples if necessary so that the child understands the gravity. Also, inform them never to give away personal information, especially, location and whereabouts.
- Keep the computer in a common area of your home and have designated areas to use mobile devices. This can help you monitor what sites your child is visiting.
- Set time on the use of the internet as well as screen time. You can use parental control apps to monitor and set screen time.
- If your child is under 18 and wants to join a social media site, If your child wants to join a social media site, ask that you have access to their account credentials.
- If above 18, you would be demanding too much, in this case, make sure to be friends with them on social media platforms.
- Make sure you have warned them of imposters and cyberstalkers.
- Always review the privacy settings on your child’s profile.
The most important of all is to be a good role model. Limit your media use, if you are engaging in any adult talk or watching UA videos that have adult jokes, do not expose them to children.
You cannot stop your kids from using the internet and social media platforms, but you can definitely protect them from online harm. Have you considered using a parental control app?
If not, now’s the time! Parental control apps allow you to monitor your child’s mobile device, help your child safely browse the web and gives you control over the device. Want to know more? Try downloading the Kids Place Parental Control app.