A study was recently conducted on the impact of social media on children and families. Findings of the study were released by the American Academy of Pediatrics which suggested that while actual benefits do exist for children when they make use of social media, for instance, having increased communication, having access to information and being able to develop a sense of self, there are disadvantages as well. They also suggested some guidelines and tips which parents should keep into consideration with respect to social media use and its impact on their children.
Make sure that your child is 13 years of age or older before he signs up for Facebook: while this is the age limit set by the site, there is no way it can actually prove whether or not a user is actually above the age limit which is why as a parent, it is your duty to ensure your child doesn’t join the site till he is above the age limit
Make sure that appropriate privacy settings are in place: this should apply not only to the social media websites which are being used by to the browsers itself. Depending on which browser you are making use of, ensure that the right settings have been activated to ensure that your child’s internet browsing session is a safe and secure one
Make use of a filtering/monitoring software: there are a number of such software’s available through which you can keep track of the websites your child has visited, for how long and even what keys were typed. Such information can help you understand what your child does while making use of the internet
Set rules: if your child is old enough to be using the computer on his own, he should also be aware that rules exist and that they should be followed. Make sure to enforce these rules and be strict about your child following them. If he/she doesn’t, feel free to take away their privileges till they understand the importance of rules.
If everyone shares the same computer at home, make sure it is in a central location. This is helpful as it prevents any sort of suspicious behavior from taking place and will also ensure that your child doesn’t visit inappropriate websites or anything of the sort as everything would be out in the open
Children like to post pictures of themselves online and share it with their friends. If your child is doing so, make sure you are aware of the kind of pictures and content he/she is sharing. Make sure it is appropriate prior to it being published on social media
Make sure you set a good example: children tend to follow the behavior of their parents a lot of times and if you tend to check your emails or social media while driving or if you text while you drive, you’re certainly not setting a good example for your child and chances are, they will behave similarly so make sure to fix your habits as well
Talk to them about the dangers of the internet. They need to be aware of what is out there and how to keep themselves safe. Create a relationship with them which makes them feel that they can approach you regarding anything and stick to your promise of helping them out.
Nicki is an expert social experiment analyst and writes regularly for some time. Her work on teens parental safety has received great appreciation from a reader who turns her keep themselves updated with the latest news about keeping your child safe.