It is impossible to deny the popularity of various social media platforms. With several celebrities choosing different social media platforms to allow the public a peek into their awe-inspiring lives, social media platforms have become the ultimate cool.
Unfortunately, for better or for worse, kids automatically gravitate towards all things cool. Social media provides intelligent ways to stay connected with the world and share information.
Sadly, this freedom also poses several safety issues, especially for kids. The internet is rife with inappropriate content, and people who proudly indulge in mean behavior. Parents must, therefore, make deliberate efforts to protect their children from the influence of social media.
8 Tips to Protect Your Child from the Influence of Social Networks
Educate Yourself About Social Media
There is more to social media than just Facebook and Instagram. As a parent, you must be well-versed with the different social media apps that are popular among children. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Whisper are some of the popular choices among kids these days.
Take some time to learn about the different social media platforms. If needed, create an account and understand how a particular platform works. It is when parents genuinely understand the difference between the different platforms, they are able to successfully make their kids see the futility or the adverse effects of these platforms.
Do Not Allow Your Child on the Internet Before the Onset of a Conscious Age
Most social media platforms have certain age restrictions. These age restrictions vary from 13 to 18 years. For instance, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter require users to be at least 13 years of age.
However, kids efficiently manage to bypass these social media laws by either lying about their age or using an elder’s email ID to create an account.
The most important thing you can do is stop your child from joining social media by lying about their age. Do not allow them to use your and your spouse’s email ID.
Initiate a Dialogue
There are only a few problems that a sincere and open conversation cannot solve. If your child wants to join the social media wagon, the first thing you must do is initiate a dialogue with your child.
Try to understand why your child wants to join a specific social media platform. Focus on understanding why they think joining social media will help them. Listen to them, but also try and explain to them the flip side.
You might be able to convince them about the futility of joining any social media platform at their age. If they are unwilling to listen, try to make them answer essential questions, such as what rules should they follow when online? Who should they go to in case of a problem? Answering these questions will better prepare them to be on social media.
Control the Time Spent on Social Media
As a parent, you will sometimes be required to snoop on your kid. Do you think your child is spending too much time on Instagram or Snapchat? Do you think, when asked, they conveniently lie about the total time spent on social media? There is one easy to find out: check the activity dashboard.
Most social media platforms have an activity dashboard that displays the total number of hours spent on the app. Use the activity dashboard to keep a tab on daily usage. Similarly, many social media platforms allow parents to set a time limit reminder. Activate the reminder.
Limit daily usage to a maximum of 60 minutes. This way, if your child moves past their daily limit, you will get a reminder. Moreover, place the laptop or computer in a common area. This will allow you to keep an eye on your kid.
Establish Parental Control
Other than activating daily usage reminders and alerts, parents can also activate parental controls on the phone, laptop, or computer their child is using to access social media. There are many parental control apps available for both iOS as well as android users. There are also many apps available that can be used to lock laptops and computers. All you have to do is find an app that works for you.
Use Spokeo Phone Number Lookup
If you are a parent and are not already familiar with Spokeo, you must immediately get on board. Spokeo is a smart tool that will allow you to understand the choices your family members are making on the internet.
When people use the internet, they leave their ‘footprint’ behind. Spokeo uses these footprints to gather knowledge about the people in your family. The company works with many different data sources and thus, can provide users a clear picture of what someone is up to.
With Spokeo, users can check for anyone in the United States using their name, phone number, address, and email. This is an entirely legal app and with Spokeo reverse phone lookup, you can run a phone number search that can help you protect your child from bullies and other social media perils.
Always Check the Browser History
If your child is on social media, you must always stay alert. Make it a habit to keep a check on your child’s browser history. If your child hides their browser history, there are a few things you can do.
To stop your kid from going into the incognito mode on an iOS device, activate the Restrictions, and set web browsing to “Limit Adult Content.” Unfortunately, on android devices, this option isn’t available.
Therefore, parents can benefit from making their children use a filtered and monitored browser on android devices. Lastly, there are many apps available in the market that allow parents to track their kid’s mobile usage as well as browser history. Download one of those apps.
Promote Good Social Media Etiquettes in Your Child
Internet bullying is a big issue. It can easily harm a child’s self-esteem. Moreover, if your child is indulging in such behavior, it can land them into trouble. Thus, before your kid starts using social media, teach them the importance of proper social media etiquette. Many social media platforms also allow you to filter out offensive or inappropriate content. Activate these settings to protect your child from any offensive comments.
The Final Word
As a parent, social media isn’t something that you will be able to keep your child away from forever. The best thing you can do is always be on the alert so that you can protect your child from the risks and dangers posed by social media.
About Author: Valerie Malecha is the content marketing manager for Spokeo. She is an experienced writer and editor. She creates articles on relations, dating, parenting, technology, travel and business topics.