Now let me tell you few things which you need to keep in mind when your child wants to join any social media network. They are quite simple and will help your child to use social media wisely:
1) Make sure that your child understand the disadvantages of publishing content online:
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. Even if we delete the content from the website, there is no guarantee that the content is also deleted from the server of the website, Many websites still have backup of deleted content on the server. ( This content can be accessed by only official permission). Also a website can get hacked and the hacker gets all the information which he can misuse. Here are some news links talking about website getting hacked, fake accounts : -#http://www.starpulse.com/news/WENN/2013/05/27/alec_baldwins_twitter_hacked
Also many website have their own rules, example on facebook, things you hide from your timeline can still appear in news feed, search and other places on Facebook.
2) Ask your child about their experience with social media website and guide them if required:
In tense situation, stay calm and remind your child that it is OK to bring it to your attention. And solve the problem tactfully. For kids of all ages, 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 part 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.
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. If these issues are occurring due to your child browsing Social media website instead of having timely meals, sleep, playing then your child may have a problem with Internet or Social Media addiction. Here is a PDF format of a PACT which would encourage your child to follow the rules. Also this will make sure that your kid takes 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. You can solve this by creating an account under a different name, although it is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service not to use your real name. Another approach is to 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 any one who they don’t know. If you use computer in a library or Internet cafe, log off completely before you leave.
6) Removal of your child’s page :
If your child refuse to follow the rules you can contact the social website your child uses and ask them to remove the page.
7) 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.
8) Multitasking can be dangerous. Ensure that kids/ teenagers are not texting messages using Facebook via mobile phone, listening ear phones while driving or walking on the road.
If you need few tips on how to use social network websites like Twitter, Youtube just drop me an email with Subject line as ” Guide – <website name>” . Also feel free free to contact me for any advice needed on this topic.