Social Media Kids

I am a huge advocate for Social Media. I’m kind of a junkie, actually. I think it’s a great tool for businesses, a wonderful way to connect with friends, new and old, and it works great as a way to journal your child’s milestones/achievements on the go.

But when it comes to kids? No way, uh-uh, no how.

Originally introduced in 2000, COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) states that websites cannot collect information about users under 13 years of age without parental consent, this includes providing access to interactive websites and applications which could enable them to share information with others. Therefore websites have to either incorporate a method of collecting parental consent or forbid the use of the site by any users under 13 years of age (as Facebook has opted to do). Although a US law, this could still apply to international sites that may be accessed by underage US users.

There has been some chatter recently about Facebook lowering the age limit for using Facebook, it’s currently 13. Which in my prudish opinion is still too young. It is well known that the social sites do not have the tools or manpower to effectively enforce their age restrictions. If your child lies about his age, or you do it for him, it is unlikely that the infraction will ever be discovered.

Young children can’t comprehend the dangers or repercussions that can come along with social media. They lack the awareness and self censorship to know what is acceptable content and that once they put it out there, their digital footprint is there for the world to see and can come back to haunt them later on in life, in relationships or college applications or when they get a job in the real world.

What’s more important is that according to Federal Bureau of Investigations, it is believed that more than half a million pedophiles are online every day, making sexual predators a very real threat to your child. With millions of people logging on to social sites each day, odds are that dangerous people will attempt to contact your child at some point.

So, here are 5 Golden Rules (compliments of Social Media Today) to keep in mind when trying to keep your child safe in the Social Media World.

1. Show Me.
Ask your child to show you the sites that they use. Show an interest and take note of the sites they visit and re-visit them later when you’re alone.  Find out how to set safety features and how to report any issues directly to the site.

2. Low Profile.
Ask your child to set profile settings to private. Since children use social media sites to share just about everything they do, setting their profile to private can help protect them against photos, personal information and even location in the real world ending up in the wrong hands. (Side note, this rule suggests “Asking” your child to do this. Require is the word I would have used.)

3. Just Ask.
Ask your child about their online friends. Help your child understand that people can create fake identities online and lie about who they really are. They should only give out personal information and be “friends” with people they know in the real world.

4. Photo Check
Ask your child to only share photos that they don’t mind showing to you first. Talk to your child about the images they send, the sites and apps they use to share them and who they are sending them to. (again, I would say require, don’t ask)

5. Don’t Worry
Ask your child to tell you if they are worried about something online. By talking to your child about the internet, their favorite sites, and the risks they may encounter, they are more likely to come to turn to you if they get into situations online where they feel uncomfortable or see something they don’t want to see.

And when in doubt, just say no. It may seem like the end of the world for them at the time but in the long run, keeping them safe is what’s most important and if you don’t feel like you can supervise them closely enough, it’s best to hold off until they’re more mature.

Do you allow your child to access social media? What age do/would you allow this from?

How do you monitor their activity?

Follow this link for the infographic on the 5 golden rules of social media for kids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *