There’s a lot of bad stuff and people on the Internet. Parents are often at a disadvantage because they didn’t grow up in the same techy world that their children survive in. Read: they often don’t know what’s going on, AT ALL. Since the topic of internet is so broad, here are 5 tips to knowing what your child is doing on social media.
1: Become their friend. At the very minimal, be their friend online and figure out a time each week where you can go to their profile or page (alone or in bed or with your spouse) and catch up on what they’re doing. Like their pictures, put frowny faces on their sad statuses, etc. Be present. Show love.
2: Know their account info. This is a drastic step, since it feels like an invasion of privacy for your child. HOWEVER, if they have nothing to hide and understand that you just want to help (not spy on them), than it’s fine. I had a HUGE objection to my parents having my passwords because I was writing a boy they didn’t want me to communicate with. They also didn’t explain their reasons (other than spying on me) so I didn’t feel they had a right. If they have a huge objection to you having their password, offer to give them yours (if it’s safe) so it feels more equal.
3: If they’re still young and as long as possible, share an account. Make a family FaceBook or Instagram. Everybody who’s old enough has the password, and nobody does anything weird or writes anyone they’re not supposed to, because everybody else sees it.
4: Have computer or internet-enabled devices in a public place like the living or dining room.
5: Lastly and most important: take the time to KNOW your child and what they’re spending their time doing. If you just take an interest, they will be much less likely to get into trouble online, just because you can help them be wise and they don’t feel like they have to get attention online. Most of life is not just lived in the physical world anymore, it’s lived online, and if you want to truly know your child, check out what they do and say online.
I’m not a parent yet. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was a kid. And I do know these tips help kids stay safe on the internet.