Making sure children understand the dangers of social media use at a young age is critical. It will help them make informed decisions about how they engage online and help mitigate the dangers. Begin by talking about healthy and appropriate digital citizenship, their digital thumbprint, and how the material they put on the Internet is permanent. Discuss the dangers of meeting and interacting with strangers online. Set rules about social media accounts and actively monitor their accounts if they have them.
It’s always best to postpone the use of social media, but it’s better to be an active part of their social media presence as opposed to your kids hiding it from you. Also, get in the know: Cell phone providers have parental controls on their services and there are plenty of apps (such as Phone Sheriff and Circle) for parents to use to monitor their child’s use of Wi-Fi, social media, and the Internet.
The key is to stay engaged. Kids don’t need social media privacy. Just as you want to know who their friends are in the “real” world, you also want to know who their friends are in the “virtual” world.
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