Like most parents, you are also bound to worry about your children being present on different social networking sites.
Before, we start pressing the panic button, let’s take a step back and understand a few things ourselves. This will go a long way in handling the subject with a little maturity.
Respect the Age Limit
Kids as young as seven or eight are on Facebook, more often than not with the knowledge of their parents.
It is absolutely not alright to violate a social networking site’s terms of service.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act states that the legal age for any individual to voluntarily share pictures or information is thirteen.
If we consent our kids to flout this condition, we are willingly opening our pre-teens to danger.
Stress on A Few Ground Rules
An excellent round rule to set is to tell your child to have only those people on her list who she has actually met in person. No strangers should be allowed on her list.
It is important we stress that networking sites are to keep in touch with people we know, there is no requirement (at least at that age) to meet strangers online.
Explain to them, that while you trust them, it is important that they consult you if they are ever in doubt.
Explain the Dangers
Explain to your children the etiquettes of sharing personal information, and pictures online.
Teach them the importance of privacy, and that everything need not be shared online.
Cyber bullying, cyber stalking, stealing of information, etc are all very real dangers, and it is important that they are made aware so they can know if they are being victimized.
If It Isn’t Online, It Didn’t Happen
Children face a lot of peer pressure. And so they need to look good on every picture. There are cases of kids going into depression if a few of their tweets, updates, or pictures, go unnoticed or uncommented. As parents, it is important for us to make sure that we raise a confident child, who is able to combat this incessant critiquing.
Parental Controls Can Be Overridden
Children are smart these days. They know how to override the parental controls. So, do not live in the dark ages, get tech savvy yourself, and know how to get smarter than them by adding on additional filters, content filters etc.
Communication Is the Crux
All of us would like to believe that our children just want to talk to their friends, and are really voluntarily up-to no offensive behaviour. While this is true most of the time, teenage is a very curious and confusing age, and many kids end up making mistakes. It is then up to us to make them feel secure enough, to discuss these mistakes so we can steer them right.