Sunday, September 21, 2014

Follow these tips to protect your children on social networks

trickdump


Children today are among the most heavily connected age group around. Social networks are the virtual hangouts and also playgrounds for today's kids. No wonder then that a PEW research report finds 80%  of children active on social networks.

As cyberbullying, privacy concerns and peer pressure become a harsh realty online, it's up to parents to make sure children are protected, and aware of etiquette online. Here are some steps parents can take to make sure children are safe online.

Educate yourself

Before you try to look out for your child, it's important that you know what's what. For instance, what's the difference between Twitter and Snapchat? And what are the ways children could be at risk on these networks? It is important that parents are versed themselves in these distinctions so that guiding children on proper dos and donts are maintained.

Talk to your child about the risks and dangers

Parents should sit down with children and talk to them about the nature of social networks and the risks that come with oversharing or falling to peer pressure. Talking can be complicated for parents but it is a step which must be taken to quell doubts in the minds of children as they begin venturing onto social platforms and meeting new people.

Set a limit

Limits are much better than bans. Try to work a decision which takes into account both your child's and your concerns and device limits on say, time allowed on social networks.

Most online networks already have a limit when it comes to minimum age required to make an account but it's easy to bypass that. Parents should keep themselves aware of children's accounts and set a limit to when they can join these.

A blanket ban is likely to cause them to make secret accounts. Instead, them knowing that social networks will be open at a certain age is a better strategy. Meanwhile, educate them about these things.

Check their privacy settings

This is one of the things parents can do to make sure kids aren't interacting with unwanted strangers or oversharing information online. And since these settings are frequently updated, it's better if an adult keeps an eye on them until your child is aware of their importance.