It’s hard to avoid being a part of social media sites like Facebook. While it can be addictive for adults, it’s even more attractive to young school age kids.
Facebook has drawn many underage kids to their site. According to Facebook’s terms of service a person must be at least 13 years old, but many kids are a part of Facebook who don’t meet this requirement. For the most part it’s easy to lie about the age as there isn’t a way to know if it’s true or not.
While 13 is a bit young to be on social media sites, it’s also inevitable. If you have a mature and responsible 13 year old who is beyond their years, there won’t be as many problems as opposed to someone who is immature and don’t really know right from wrong.
It’s the parents’ responsibility to know and enforce rules for their children who belong to social media sites.
Valuable tips to help keep your child safe on Facebook.
– Discuss with your child what you expect from them while they are on Facebook. In other words, lay out the ground rules. Anything you deem inappropriate will have consequences and let them know what the consequences are.
– Sit down and go through the privacy settings with them. Explain what the different privacy settings mean. Let them know you will monitor what they’ll be doing which means they must add you as a friend and you must know their password which is necessary to ensure their safety. Write it down in a notebook and keep it updated as necessary.
– Choose the highest privacy settings and opt out being searchable in search engines until they reach 18.
– Tell your child to never share with anyone their password. This is extremely important.
– Remind them to only friend people or accept friend requests they personally know. Friends of friends don’t constitute someone as they know.
– Ensure they know to never put personal information such as their home address, phone numbers or any other identifying information on their page that can be traced back to their location.
– There are many game applications on Facebook so make sure they know how to set the permissions for these games.
– Enforce a time limit on Facebook and encourage them to talk with their friends on the phone or set up a play date.
– Follow through and check in on them regularly. Do not ever assume they are doing everything you say. Event the best kid can make a mistake…some unknowingly! Also, make sure you do not waiver on these rules. Sometimes tough love is the only way to get a point across. :)
As parents it’s our responsibility to help our kids make the right choices. It is also very important to know how your child is interacting on Facebook, or any other social networking sites. Regular monitoring their page for anything inappropriate written or uploaded and having an open communication with them will ensure the safety of your child. It’ll also build trust, self-confidence and self-esteem when your child knows they can come to you for support if there’s ever a problem on Facebook.
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