“My kids are not using social media – they are too young for that!”
This is the answer we sometimes get from parents when asking if their children use social media. What do you think the kids themselves answered?
Quite often parents don’t know that their kids are online or use social media. The explanation is simple: Kids learn about different services from their friends and join even if they don’t even have an internet connection at home.
As a parent you have two options: 1) You can make yourself believe that your kids are not using social media or 2) you can educate them in good time and tell about for instance blocking, reporting and password safety.
As well as kids need to be able to cross a road without grown-ups holding their hand, they also need to be guided to be able to act online.
We have made a checklist in order to give kids a good start in their social media life. With these simple dos and don’ts, there’s no reason why your kid shouldn’t use social media.
Take some minutes and talk to your kid about these. Because your kid will be on social media before you know it, whether you want it or not.
Kids under 13 should not be on Facebook or Instagram. There is an age limit of 13 that most kids – and parents – are not aware of. Children should use social media that is made for them since those services pay more attention to safety issues and are more supervised than social media for adults.
Think twice before you post. Be careful with personal information such as address and phone number. Also be careful with posting pictures of you or your family and friends, and always ask for permission before posting a picture of someone else.
People are not always who they say they are. Be wary of people asking intimate questions and wanting to meet up. Never meet a stranger without talking to your parents about it first.
Be careful in what you say about others online. Making rude or offensive comments about others causes pain and will have consequences to you too. Remember to report if you see bad behaviour.
Watch out for others asking for your password. You should never ever give out your password to anyone. If you do, you risk having your account stolen. You can protect your password by having a strong unique password. Never use the same password that you use on your email account.
What else would you would teach to your kids about online safety? Tell us in the comments!