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Parents: Is Your Child's Data Protected While Using Social Media?
In today’s world, parents have to worry about much more than protecting their children from harm in public settings.
Social media has created a whole new set of concerns for parents, as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others are forums that often result in privacy problems. According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)*, 22 percent of teens log on to social media sites more than 10 times a day, and 75 percent of them own cell phones.
This high level of engagement increases the risk of cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate content exposure, and “Facebook depression.” The latter is the result of defriending and cyberbullying.
If you allow your tweens and teens to use social media and are worried about protecting their privacy, see below for a few things you can do to shield them from potential danger:
No Underage Users
No one under the age of 13 is permitted to use Facebook. However, anyone can lie about his or her age, and there’s no real way for the social media company to enforce this rule. Don’t allow your children to have Facebook pages until they’re the proper age, or until you feel okay about account creation.
Understanding privacy settings is a vital part of protecting your children online, so carefully review the settings of each social media platform you allow your children to use, and change the settings as needed. Tumblr, Facebook, and Flickr all offer custom privacy settings because they allow photo sharing. Facebook updates its privacy policies often, so keep this in mind when adjusting the settings on your children’s pages.
Go over privacy settings on social media platforms with your children so they obtain a better idea of how to protect themselves. For example, Facebook’s privacy settings require users to answer questions such as, “Who can send you friendrequests?,” “Who can look you up using thephone number you provided?,” and “Who can look you up using the email address you provided?.”
“What Would Grandma Say”
While it’s very important to emphasize safety to your kids while using social media, your approach must make them want to protect themselves rather than doing the opposite in “rebellion.” Help your kids make smart decisions about what they share by posing questions about what their grandparents would say if they saw the content. Doing this helps emphasize the fact, that once they put photos or other content into the universe, there’s no getting it back.
Installing monitoring systems on household computers is another way to protect your kids’ data while on social media. Doing this allows you to see what children are doing online, including who they’re talking to. You may also want to make a rule about children never “friending” anyone they don’t know, and review the apps on their cell phones to ensure they aren’t using anonymous social media sites and apps.
Landmarks and Location Services
Keeping the location services turned off when posting from smartphones is a good idea for both you and your children. Additionally, you should avoid posting images with obvious landmarks in the background.
Questionnaires and Giveaways
Questionnaires, giveaways, and contests require personal information, and many of them are “Internet tricks” that unsuspecting people, such as tweens and teens, fall for. Urge your children to avoid these scams and to instead look for contests that don’t require a lot of personal information.
A Good Example
If you want your kids to use social media responsibly, you have to use it the right way too! Constantly checking social media apps on your phone sends a direct message to children that such platforms are important and require constant use.
Limiting how much time children can spend on social media helps protect their data, as they won’t be “on” as much and sharing information. Limitations may include restricting how much time they spend on their phones or not allowing them to install the app versions of social media on said phones.
Remember, talk to your kids about social media! Keep the communication lines open and reinforce the fact that they can always come to you about cyberbullying or any other problems they’re having.
Discover more about online safety for families:
How to become a more tech savy parent
7 ways to help keep your kids safe online
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