Phones. Everybody has them. Everybody has access to social media. Lets go over a few tips to help keep your children safe online:
Social Media Settings
- No Public Pages – If you allow your children to be on social media, you should highly encourage (or require) that their online profiles remain private. Why? Because you are leaving the door open for anyone with a internet connection to peak into your child’s life. If you are using their public page as your way of snooping, find another way.
- Turn Location Features Off on Social Media Sites – Every social media website has the option to turn your location off. This means if you take a picture in McDonald’s, the location will not be tagged in your photo. This means a stranger can’t scroll through their pictures and see where they like to frequent or hang out.
- No PII (Personal Identifiable Information) online – Keep your last name, their school name, house numbers (via picture or actual text) offline. Yes, we love to post Honor Roll certificates showcasing their achievements, but blur out any personal information. Anything that can be dug up with a little from Google should remain offline. I have seen “kickback” (house) party invites blasted over Twitter with full blown addresses annd I instantly wondered #1 how did this teeny bopper party make it to my oldie but goodie section of Twitter, and #2 if the homeowner (parent or whoever) knew their address was floating around the world wide web. O-M-G!
Social Media Etiquette
- “Thou shalt not Thot it up.” – Since we are talking about our children here, thotting (male or female) is an absolutely no-no. No bathroom mirror bra pics, no on the bed boy shorts poses, no fresh out the shower in front the mirror GAME pics. NO NUDITY. Nothing sexually explicit. Nothing sexually suggestive. NONE of that.
- No sexting (including pics). – Contrary to popular belief, no matter how many times you say “for your eyes only…pinky swear, promise me..swear on us” it will be shared. Have recurring conversations with your child about unwanted sexting or advances from ANYONE. Just today a local teacher was charged with sexual exploitation after texting a student for months.
- No harassment. – True story, strange story, and totally random but relatable story. I like to coupon, so I follow follow couponers on Instagram. So one day, this couponer blasted somebody on her page who had been in her comments all day talking trash. The comment was so dumb. The whole time I’m thinking to myself “That’s something a child would write.” There’s no way an adult is going to cuss like that, whole comment literally made no sense. So I clicked on the page name, and sure enough it took me to the PUBLIC profile of some middle school kid trying to get likes and followers. Here we have this little kid out here harassing, cursing (all wrong at that) at adults trying to get people to follow her page. I really wanted to friend request her just to ask for her parents information and snitch on her. And she’s not alone. If you ever go on Shade Room or Baller Alert and see people arguing in the comments, 70% of the times its some little twerp trying to get likes and followers.
- No bullying. – Bothering people is a no-no. Its one thing to have friendly banter amongst friends, but public shaming or harassing others is not cool at all. Don’t allow your child to participate in such behavior, and encourage your child to speak up if they are a recipient of bullying or harassment. There are sooo many battles adults should fight for children, and this is one most of us are willing to put on the battle gear, boxing gloves or whatever for.
- No dumb stuff, period. – In recent news, area children have been getting in trouble (arrested) for making threats online (prank or no prank) about causing harm to others at school. I think fake bomb threats have been around since the existence of high school, but “don’t you be the one to do it.” That’s the motto every household needs to have. Post 9/11 has everyone in a heightened state of alert, and although it may seem like a juvenile prank, it will not be taken lightly by anyone. They will find you, and you will get in major trouble.
We, as parents (protectors)(guardians), have to our due diligence as well. This includes:
- random phone sweeps (look through pics, text messages, apps). Even ipods are able to connect to the internet and function as phones.
- setting filters so that new app purchases have to be approved by you.
- keeping up with the latest social media apps the kids are using. Ask your facebook friends when in doubt.
- friend request your kids.
- have ongoing dialogue with your children about online safety
If the rules of the house aren’t abided by, take that phone to the carrier and have them restrict everything but incoming calls.
Phones are a privilege, especially when you are a minor and unable to pay your own bill. 🙂