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/

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