It seems as if social media users keep getting younger and younger, and with contemplating Facebook removing their age restriction, more and more children are going to find themselves on social media sites.
As a parent, it’s very important that you talk to your children about social media so that they have an understanding of how it should be used. It’s also very important that you create rules for your child if they have a social media account. Social media is an easy way for your children to be targeted by sex offenders and bullies, and instead of allowing your children to be hurt by the technology, it’s important that you implement the following social media rules.
Limit their time.
The first rule you need to invoke is a time allowance. You need to determine how much time your child can spend on social networks every day, and then enforce it. The best way to do this is to place the family computer in a common area of the house, and if your child has access to a smartphone or tablet, change the Wifi password every day so that they cannot access these accounts through their mobile device.
Receive their login information.
Tell your child that you will allow them to have a social networking account only if they provide you with their login details. Assure them that you will not have this information to spy on them, and that it is only in case of an emergency.
Friend or follow them.
Another rule you need to enforce is that your child needs to connect with you on the social networks. This way, you can have access to their page and you can see what they are doing on these networks.
It’s important to note that some kids are creating two separate profiles: one that is the dummy account for their parents, and the other that is their true account for friends. If you notice that your child is spending time on social media accounts, but that their page hasn’t shown any recent activity, you may want to investigate if your child has created a dummy account.
Enforce a friend only rule.
Kids think of everything as a popularity contest, and they’re in a constant battle to try and have the most friends, but you need to teach your children that giving strangers access to their personal information can be very harmful, and you need to enforce a friends only rule, which means that your child can only friend or follow people that they truly know in real life.
Use the security settings.
Facebook defaults to setting accounts to public, so you need to tell your child that their account always needs to remain private. This way, strangers or friends of their friends can’t access their information.
You need to create a list of punishments if your child were to violate any of your rules. For example, if you find that your child is using profanity or bullying other people through these channels, you need to have a plan in place to punish your child for these actions.
Raising a child is not an easy job, and social media makes it even worse. If your child wants to have a social media account, it’s very important that you create rules for your child to follow. They may think that you’re lame, but it is truly for their own protection.