While your children’s safety online is always top of mind, the recent addition of the Snap Map on social media platform Snapchat has brought more online privacy concerns to light. If the feature is turned on, the platform will show an avatar of your child, pinpointed on a map to his or her exact location. With new updates and features like this happening to online every day, it is important to lay down some ground rules when your kids are using social media.
There have been many studies conducted on the impact social media has on kids and families. Although there are real benefits to kids using social media sites, including increased communication, access to information and help in developing a sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing too. Social media has been found to take a toll on teenager’s self-esteem and can be an avenue for kids to be cyber bullied or cyber stalked.
Here are 6 tips from kids.gov on how to keep your kids safe on social media:
- Keep your child’s profile private so that only family and people you know see photos, important dates and other information.
- Make sure they’re not posting personal details, including phone numbers, home address, and the name of their school or Social Security number.
- Only allow them to publishphotos and videos that don’t jeopardize their safety or their integrity.
- Make sure they choose a strong password that can’t be guessed, and that it gets changed every three months.
- Never allow them to accept friend requests from people they don’t know.
- Keep an open dialogue with your children. Ask them to let you know if they’ve received private messages from a stranger, or from someone at school who is teasing, harassing or threatening them. Those could be signs ofcyber-bullying or even a sexual predator.
Make sure your kids understand the repercussions of what they post online. It’s easy to say something they may not mean behind the anonymity of a screen. Also, more and more employers are looking at social media accounts to screen candidates. Make sure they know that what they post online can never be truly deleted, and that something they post in middle school or high school can incriminate them in the future.
If you need someone to talk to about your kids online habits, or if you believe your child is being cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked, contact EFR through your EAP benefit. We can connect you with the help your child needs. Contact us today!