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/

More Internet Slang

Just like our kids grow, so does technology. It’s hard to keep up. Today I saw this article about new internet acronyms. Oh boy, just what we need – more to keep up with. Will it ever stop? No. I can guarantee you that. So, if you don’t already, make sure you are checking your child’s device/phone especially if they are a teenager.

From CNN, these are 28 new internet acronyms to be aware of:

  1. IWSN – I want sex now
  2. GNOC – Get naked on camera
  3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer
  4. PIR – Parent in room
  5. CU46 – See you for sex
  6. 53X – Sex
  7. 9 – Parent watching
  8. 99 – Parent gone
  9. 1174′ – Party meeting place
  10. THOT – That hoe over there
  11. CID – Acid (the drug)
  12. Broken – Hungover from alcohol
  13. 420 – Marijuana
  14. POS – Parent over shoulder
  15. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo
  16. KOTL – Kiss on the lips
  17. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life
  18. PRON – Porn
  19. TDTM – Talk dirty to me
  20. 8 – Oral sex
  21. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9
  22. IPN – I’m posting naked
  23. LH6 – Let’s have sex
  24. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?
  25. DOC – Drug of choice
  26. TWD – Texting while driving
  27. GYPO – Get your pants off
  28. KPC– Keeping parents clueless

Out of that list, I had only heard of two of them. Yikes!

Here’s the full article from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/08/living/internet-acronyms-every-parent-should-know/

ETA (edited to add) – Another article to read. This has 99 texting acronyms! http://coolmomtech.com/2014/07/texting-acronyms-and-phrases-parents-should-know/

Apps That Parents Should Worry About



It seems like every week, there is another app being developed that parents need to be aware of. I hope to be able to share those with you as I investigate and find out more myself.

Here are a few great articles you should read that outline some of the dangerous apps kids and teenagers are using.




My summary is below of the ones I feel cause the biggest problems…

Yik Yak

This is a newer app now available and probably the most dangerous. You can post anonymously, potentially causing cyber-bullying but even worse, it lets anyone (strangers) in the area view your posts. The app uses the device’s GPS signal to let those strangers know that you are close by.


I hate this app. I knew as soon as it was created, it would cause problems. The app lets you send a photo or video to another member and after 10 seconds, it disappears from the receiver’s inbox. Kids and teenagers have a false sense of privacy when it comes to this app. Problem is…nothing is “deleted” in cyberspace. It goes somewhere and if they are sexting or sending inappropriate photos, the legal ramifications can destroy their future.

KiK Messenger

Even though this app is rated for people 17 and over, the 11-15 year olds are the ones using it the most. Teenagers are moving away from Facebook where their parents can view what they say. Instead, they take to group text messages or messaging services like Kik to hold conversations with their friends. With Kik Messenger, the kids don’t need a phone line. It’s all done over Wifi so anyone on an iPod Touch or iPad can sign up and use it as well. Kids tend to promote their Kik Messenger username on public social media outlets like Vine and Instagram where anyone (including a pedophile) could start chatting with them. Make sure to check your child’s device for this app and if they are using it, monitor the conversations going on.


This app is definitely not for kids or anyone under 18. It’s a video chat app that links you up with complete strangers to talk to one-on-one. Enough said, right? Delete it if you find it on your child’s device and have a serious conversation about the risks in talking to strangers over the internet/mobile device.


This app promotes users to share secrets, gossip or feelings anonymously with the people around them. It shows your location but not your name.  It’s an app the kids just don’t need.


I saved the best (worst!) for last. Ask.fm. It can be used through the app or online through their website. It’s a question and answer format that tweens and teens are using more and more. It is being used more and more for cyberbullying. Unfortunately, users can ask questions anonymously which has caused bullying to occur. Content is not monitored. Find out if your child has an “ask.fm” profile or search for them yourself. You may be surprised. If you’re not worried about this app/website, I highly suggest reading this article on 10 frightening facts that all parents should know about Ask.fm:  http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2013/10/facts-about-ask-fm-parents/

I know it’s tough to keep up and try and monitor what your kids are doing online and with their devices. You can’t ban them from every app or website out there but you can talk to them about it. Parents need to set boundaries and teach their children what is right and wrong in this ever changing digital world. It’s not going away so educate yourself and your children.