This article from the Safe, Smart and Social website offers advice for parents on how to adequately protect their children online.
We caught up with Robert Reichmann, Founder and CEO at Visr, an app for parents to keep their kids safe on social networks and asked him to share with us his 5 parenting tips for digital and Internet safety.
Be a role model
Just like in real life, kids learn much of their online behavior from others, including you! You’re probably aware of keeping your language and behavior appropriate while offline, but are you as conscious about your online behavior?
If you are a tech-savvy parent, chances are you are probably using a couple of social networks yourself. If you’re not, then we strongly recommend you get yourself familiarized with them, so you know how people use them. If your kids are using social media, it’s a good idea for you to follow/friend/etc them, but not before making sure that your social accounts are appropriate for your kids to see. Remember to lead by example and not have any content that you wouldn’t want to see on your kids social media, e.g. bad language, mean-spirited commentary, questionable pictures, etc.
Review the rules
This is a great time of year to ensure that you and your child are on the same page when it comes to digital awareness and responsibility. Not sure where you stand when it comes to technology rules? Not to worry, Janell Hofmann, author of the book iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know about Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up, has share the rules she created for her kids with the world. Her iRules can be easily modified to fit your parenting style and personal preferences when it comes to technology.
Bringing offline accountability online
Many of the behaviors we see online, whether positive or negative, are just online manifestations of behaviors that exist in real life. As parents, we need to be diligent in providing our children with skills to deal with problems when they arise, and helping them understand that they can use these strategies online too.
‘Cyberbullying’ is the term often used to refer to these behaviors online, ‘Stop Cyberbullying’ defines it as when a child or teen is ‘tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed by another child or team using internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.’
Unfortunately, other children are not the only perpetrators of online harassment, other adults may have bad intentions and use social media as their preferred medium to find victims.
Modern parents need to consider how traditional offline dangers to their child may transfer online through new technologies and methods of communication, which leads us to our next point.
Stay in the know
How our kids communicate online is constantly changing, just in 2014 we saw younger audiences shift their attention to new social networks like Snapchat and Vine. Older social networks are constantly changing too, releasing updates and thereby changing how information is shared on their platforms.
In order to stay in the know about new social networks and updates to existing ones, its important that you track their progress, news, and updates. How can you make sure you don’t miss any updates?
Social media savvy parent – If you’re a big user of social media, then follow the social networks your children use on social media, they will post updates about any changes on their social channels. You also need to stay updated with any new social media, which you can do by following social media news sources like Mashable, Social Media Examiner, TechCrunch, CNET, or Social Times.
Not social, but tech savvy – You can also follow the ‘social media’ sections on tech media blogs like Mashable and Wired, they summarize new updates as they are released. If you’re an avid reader of blogs, then add Twitter’s, Facebook’s, Snapchat’s, and Instagram’s official blogs to your reading list.
Traditional news reader – Someone has to keep the media industry alive! Pay close attention to the ‘technology’ section of your newspaper. Online sources like Business Insider stay atop social trends.
By this point you are probably considering how time consuming and complicated it would be to stay updated on all the latest social networks, this is without even consider your child’s (or children’s) particular online habits.
There are companies out there who are striving to help parents and their kids navigate the social media landscape safely together. We are one such company. If you are feeling unsure of how to keep your kids safer through the use of social media, we can help.