At some point in the future, your children will want to access social media sites. It might be Facebook, it might be Instagram, it might be something that hasn’t been invented yet. But whatever the platform, inherent dangers are lurking in social media for children. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help them understand how to stay safe. We’re going to explore some of the most important topics you should bring up today.
#1: The Dangers of Oversharing
The first thing for your kids to understand is that over sharing information online is not advisable. There are a lot of issues at stake that could give others clues about their whereabouts, the school they attend, and who their friends are. You kids should also understand that what goes on social media could end up everywhere. And, that it might be a permanent record that is online forever. Yes, they can delete posts that turn out to be embarrassing. But by that stage, the damage could be done already.
#2: They don’t know who they are talking to
Of course, the main reason for not oversharing is that you just don’t know who will see your posts. The Internet is a perfect place for anonymity, and your kids will have no idea who they are actually talking to. Stranger danger is just as real online as it is in the real world. The sad truth is some people would do harm to your kids out there, who are not who they say they are. And if your kids get into conversations, these masters of manipulation can encourage them to make unwise decisions.
Social media is also a place where bullies thrive. And make no mistake about it, cyber bullying is every bit as potent as bullying on the playground. Some children have even committed suicide after feeling they can’t handle the online taunts anymore. Make sure your child is comfortable enough to talk with you about such incidents. It’s also important to discuss any incidents of cyberbullying with the school. In most states, they have a responsibility to stamp out bullying of all kinds. If they fail to do so, you should contact a school lawyer and consider taking legal action. Finally, make sure your kids know the effects of cyberbullying themselves – and the damage it can cause. Make it clear they should not join in with bullying or tease online – they might regret it at a later stage.
#4: The Danger of Photos
When you post a photo onto social media, your kids can reveal a lot more information than the picture itself. Photos also contain EXIF data, which includes a lot of data about how the picture was taken – and where it was taken. Strangers can use this data to find your children, or work out where they hang out. It doesn’t take much to imagine what might happen, either in the local park or even in your backyard. So, make sure they understand that even the most innocent photo could be saying a lot more about them than they think.
We hope this post has helped highlight some of the dangers of social media for kids. Stay safe out there, folks!