Keep Your Kids Safe on Facebook
The online world and kids is a world that parents have only started to navigate, and it’s not going away. Below follows some smart tips on how to deal with Facebook and kids from a smart mom, whose job is social media. These are some Tips to Safely Introducing Your Child to Facebook — From a Mom or Dad Who works with Facebook every day.
A large part of my day is spent on Facebook. Not for fun, mind you, but managing client pages. But even outside of work, social media plays a huge role in my life. I’ve been on Facebook since early 2008 when I set up my profile.
Kids don’t understand the implications of being connected to the broader world—and unfortunately many adults don’t understand either. We must educate ourselves so that we can make social media a fun and valuable part of our children’s lives.
I believe social media and the future interations of social media are going to play a huge role in our children’s lives and they should be prepared to make good decisions as they navigate interacting with people around the world and sharing personal information.
It should be a parental decision as to when you want to start this process but all platforms require children to be 16 years old to have their own account.
Here are some tips for parents with kids exploring Facebook for the first time:
1. Set up the account for your child
Create you son’s or daughter’s account and know the login. Login at least once a week to be sure everything looks okay and to verify there aren’t any inappropriate private messages.
2. Set the privacy settings
Let the account have strictest settings — and Facebook has made it easier than ever to do this. If you click on the lock symbol in the upper right hand corner there is a Privacy Shortcuts dropdown. From there you’ll want to check the following settings:
– Who can see my stuff?
– Who can contact me?
3. Monitor who they friend
Talk about who is appropriate for him / her to socialize with on Facebook. Let He/She only be friends with people You know and trust, like your mom, extended family, and a few friends. Communicate with these people about your expectations of interaction with Your son/daughter and also ask them to alert You of anything that looked unsafe.
4. Everything in moderation
Facebook can be a wonderful way to interact with others, but it can also get in the way of real life socialization. It can help a shy child connect in a non-threatening environment, but it doesn’t push them to get over the uncomfortable part of talking with people in person and learning that aspect of socialization. Let Your family set up rules for usage just as we have with TV, video games, and other screens. Since he can only access Facebook during his screen time, the Facebook limits are built into our general screen time limits.
5. If your child is on Facebook, YOU need to be on Facebook whether you like it or not
Even if you don’t like social media, it’s likely that your children will eventually ask for an account. You need to know how it works and also friend your child so you can see what they’re doing. If they move on to another social media platform, you need to be there too. And most important of all, engage with them and talk about what they are doing and seeing online.
6. Know the risks and benefits of social media
Obviously, your child is being exposed to a much larger world. That can be an amazing thing and also terrifying at the same time. The opportunity for them to be exposed to new people, new ideas, family members, far off locations, and historical events is a huge opportunity to raise a more worldly child. Our children no longer have to wait for the mail to arrive from a pen pal like we did- they learn and connect instantaneously.
They are also exposed to potential predators and scam artists and their naivety makes them easy prey. Be prepared to make this part of your social teachings and to be involved in their education so that they can thrive and benefit from social media. Ask them about it, participate in it. Set the expectation that you’re involved in their online life from the very beginning.