Points to be kept in mind when your kid wants to use social media

The Internet has revolutionized the world. It is helps us to stay connected with our friends and family. It entertains us, updates us with current affairs and much more. But along with us, our kids are also getting connected to internet at very young age. Soon they will also start using the internet just like us. This means that it’s important for parents to make sure that they monitor their children’s online activities and guide them whenever needed.

Parents need to become cybersmart and take basic precaution to protect their child from dangers on Web which include cybercrimes like cyberbuylling, identity theft.

Here is the list of basic internet safety rules that parents need to keep in mind:

1) Make sure that your child understand the disadvantages of publishing content online

Think carefully about what you post! Remember that nothing is temporary on the internet. Once you post something online, it would remain there forever. On many websites, the content is viewable by anyone who has access to internet. This content can be misused. Example – it can be used for online bullying, phishing and scams. Also many websites have their own rules, example on Facebook, posts you hide from your timeline can still appear in news feed, search and other places on the website.

2) Ask your child about their experience with social media website and guide them if required:

Ask daily: “Have you used the computer and the Internet today? Share a bit about your daily Social Media activity, use it in a way to facilitate daily conversation about your child online habits. Keep the computer in a public area of your home, such as the living room, so that you can check on what your child is doing online and how much time he is spending there. In tense situation, stay calm and remind your child that it is OK to bring it to your attention. And solve the problem tactfully.

3) Establish Family Internet rules:

Set rules on usage of internet and social media website. Example: time period for which he can be online, which website he will register, ensure that the age limits are followed diligently. Learn about the warning signs of trouble like disruption of daily schedule, meals, studies drop in grades. Make sure that everyone in your family follows the rules seriously.

4)  Educate yourself:

Join the social media website. Understand how it works. Also, monitor your child’s profile. Beware of the content which is posted on your child’s profile. You can monitor the content your child posts by making them friend on the website. As a parent resist the temptation to make public comments on your child’s page; that might embarrass them, which can create an unwanted communication barrier between you and your child. Some children might be willing to have their parents as friend but are reluctant to have their parents’ names shown up on their friends list. Another approach is to create an account under a different name, although it is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service not to use your real name. Else know your child’s passwords.

5) Encourage your child to communicate with people they already know:

Teach your children that they should never accept a friend’s request from a stranger or to communicate online or chat with anyone who they don’t know. If you use computer in a library or Internet cafe, log off completely before you leave.

6) Embedding location information within photos or videos is becoming more and more popular on mobile phones. Learn about geotracking and talk to your child about it. Be aware of the potential privacy concerns this poses for home photos and videos taken of your child. Example : Google maps can reveal the exact location of a home photo of your child.

7) Multitasking can be dangerous. Ensure that kids are not texting messages via mobile phone, listening ear phones while driving or walking on the road.

Simply follow these rules and mark your family, cybersmart. Happy surfing!

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