Ten Tips for Introducing Your Child to Social Networking

kids-school-computerI read an article the other day about introducing your children to social media. There are ten important tips to follow to get your kids ready for the world of social media. Just as the author mentions in Tip #1, don’t be an ostrich. It’s going to happen. They are going to get on to social media channels and you may not even be aware of it. I found out my son had three blogs when he was in 5th Grade. THREE. I barely knew how to create a blog myself and there he was creating his own. One was for school. A digital photography blog. In class, they learned how to set up a private blog to share and upload their photos from class. Another blog was about his favorite burger restaurants. It had one entry. Harmless. No personal information. Then I found another blog he created for jokes. They were all fine until I realized he had created a tab at the top of the blog with the title, “adult content”. Um, what? Yes, you clicked on the tab and it had a joke that shouldn’t have been up on the internet. Heck, I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to make tabbed content pages. I made him take it down immediately.The only reason I found it was that I did a Google Search for his name. Have you ever done that for your child/children? I often do. I need to make sure his digital footprint is clean. If you don’t know what that is, be sure to check out and learn what a digital footprint is. Not only for your children but for yourself as well. Can find my article here.

Anyway, here is the full article from http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/2011/09/introducing-your-child-to-social-networking/  It’s a few years old but still applies today.

Tip #1: Don’t Be An Ostrich.

Burying your head in the sand just won’t work. Believing “I’m not going to let my child join a social network until…..” isn’t the best tactic to take. If you don’t get involved in steering your child in the right direction then they’ll sign themselves up without you knowing.

Tip #2: Know The Rules.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is a law that protects your child online. It’s against this law for any child under the age of 13 to join social networks like Facebook or MySpace. We never teach our children to lie, so don’t let them lie to join a site.

Tip #3: Not Okay Offline = Not Okay Online.

Mainstream social networks like Facebook are adult intended. Whether it’s the inappropriate photos that are allowed; our personal data being tracked and sold; or the illegal content that is sadly shared, the fact is we wouldn’t knowingly allow our children to be surrounded by these activities so we shouldn’t online.

Tip #4: The Sooner The Better.

Don’t wait until your child says: “I want to join XYZ site.” Start them out early as a member of a kid-centric site that you have researched and feel comfortable with. Social networking will be a part of your child’s life, so make sure you’re involved in helping them make a healthy choice early.

Tip #5: Set Limits.

As with all our kids’ media time, limit it. Make sure they have a healthy dose of outside activities before sitting down to enjoy their social media time.  And when they do, limit their screen time.

Tip #6: Dialogue.

Talk to your kids about what they are doing online, and don’t stop talking. It’s important they know you’re interested and involved.

Tip #7: Protect Your Child’s Identity.

Your child’s identity and online safety is immediately at risk if they provide their first and last name, birth date, school, phone number or physical location. A website asking for this information should be a “red flag”. A kids social network that complies with privacy laws – asks for your email for permission, your child’s birth date (to determine if <13), and a desired screen name.

Tip #8: Round Out Your Family Safety Net.

After you’ve set your children up with their age appropriate safety-focused social networking account, be sure to activate the rest of the safety controls across all devices and tools.  For starters, safety enable all idevices, Google SafeSearch and YouTube Safety Mode.

Tip #9: The Kids Channels Are Here!

It used to be only ABC, CBS, NBC, then along came cable where suddenly kids could enjoy programming just for them. The same has happened in social media.  Networks made specifically for your children, like Yoursphere.com, offer kid-specific activities while safety and privacy are key.

Tip #10: Have Fun With Your Kids.

There’s so much exploring, creativity, education and engagement that your children will gain from their social networking experience. Be sure you sit down with your child and enjoy the experience together.

Read the full article here.

Related Article:  Safety Tips for Social Networking – http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/2012/01/safety-tips-for-social-networking/

What is Omegle?

imgresStranger Danger!! Do your kids use Omegle? You need to go check and find out because out of all the social media sites out there, this is one of the dangerous ones. Just like their tagline promotes, it’s a change for people to talk to strangers! As if this crazy world needs an app/website like that. It’s a free online chat website that randomly links users with strangers. It’s a site/app for 18 and older but that hasn’t stopped young children from using the site. Back in October 2014, two 13-year-old girls went missing after meeting up with a 23-year-old man they met on Omegle.

What should parents do? First, check your child’s computer and mobile device to see if they have the app. Then, DELETE IT. However, sites like these pop up all the time and it’s hard to keep up. I try to stay up-to-date on the latest and only found out about this app today through a friend on Facebook. Second, talk to your children. It’s a conversation to have with them when they are young and continue to do so as they grow older. I plan on reminding my son about internet safety today and checking over his phone again this week.

Karina Hedinger from Fox News had this to say about online safety for children:

Hedinger recommends talking with children about online dangers often, the sooner the better; however, she says the key to keeping kids safe isn’t barring or banning them from certain sites since new ones pop up every day. Instead, she says the real key is having conversations about how to recognize online predators and explaining why children should refuse to give out personal information — including age, sex and location.

“Let’s put it this way: When I’ve talked to students in the past, I’ve had many, many kindergarteners talk to me about all sorts of different social networking sites and apps that they use on a regular basis,” she said.

You can read more here in the article about Omegle and why parents should care.

Related Articles: