Today’s youth are connected like never before. They are growing up in a word with smartphones, tablets and thousands of applications that allow them to share information with their friends and even networks of complete strangers, in a matter of seconds.
Apps like Facebook let them connect and share details about their lives, personal information and more. Twitter lets them “tweet” messages to friends and followers. Instagram and Snapchat allow them to share photos with the world or one another. It’s so commonplace for today’s youth that they’re often disconnected from the real dangers that these apps can introduce.
When kids use social media, they’re far more likely to say things they wouldn’t in other situations. They are more likely to post comments and pictures they wouldn’t otherwise post. They may even engage in cyber bullying without even recognizing it, or post personal information on public pages. Just the other day I saw where some kid has posted his entire drivers license on his public Instagram account. The whole world can see that post. He had just jeopardized his privacy and even his identity, all because of his excitement.
It’s easy to see why you need to protect your kids. You can do this by talking to your kids about the real dangers of social media. Discuss topics such as:
- Sharing personal information with others online.
- Posting pictures to public pages or with strangers.
- What to do if a stranger asks them for private information or pictures.
- Staying away from websites that say they are for “18 Years and Older”.
- Downloading pictures and files without your permission
It’s also a good idea to monitor them on Social Media. If you decide to let them have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page, insist that you have the password and that you are allowed as a “friend” or “follower”.
Lastly, use a content filter like X3watch to keep them away from inappropriate websites. Also, be sure to take advantage of Apple’s built in Restrictions settings on iOS and Android’s Restricted Profiles wherever you can.
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