Handling Social Media With Your Kids
Set Appropriate Boundaries and Provide Intentional Oversight for Social Media.
• Follow Website Rules and Safety Tips, and Set Privacy Settings.
If you allow your kids to have access to social media, be sure to follow the rules and tips provided on specific websites. Additionally, when setting up a social networking account, be sure to access the security settings area, click on "privacy settings" and then set the desired settings to make sure you're child's profile is private to ensure only designated "friends" can access their profile.
• Set-up a closed circle of "friends."
On social networking websites, only allow your kids to designate as "friends" people whom they know and of whom you approve. This will only allow your kids to communicate with a specific, closed group of people.
• Don't allow kids to add new "friends" without your permission.
It's likely that over time, your children will want to add additional "friends" to their social networking profile. Also, understand that it's likely that your children will receive requests from people they don't know to be added to their "friend" list. Set an expectation that no person can be added to the "friend" list without your permission.
• Don't allow your kids to provide any personal information.
Don't allow kids to post any information that would make it easy for a stranger to find them like addresses, phone numbers, where they regularly hang out, where they work and what time they get off work.
• Don't allow kids to set up multiple profiles using multiple email accounts.
From the beginning, set the expectation that your child is allowed only one account on a social networking website. Make sure your child understands that a violation of this expectation is cause for disciplinary action.
• Make it clear that you intend to be a "friend" and will regularly check your child's profile.
Your child will likely balk at this rule, as he or she will want their profile to be private, free from a parent's view. Don't give in. This will serve a couple of good purposes, both to ensure your children think through what to post on their profile before they do so, and it also gives you the opportunity to view the content that others post on the profile, as well. Be sure to follow through. "Friend" you child and visit their profile frequently.
• Have your kids agree to tell you if they receive any inappropriate or threatening messages.
The possibility exists that your child will receive uninvited, inappropriate or threatening messages from others. So, set the expectation that you need to know if this occurs, so that you can deal with these messages.
• Set clear expectations about cell phone use.
These expectations should include all issues associated with today's cell phones, from when it's okay to talk on their cell phone, to texting, to taking and distributing photos and videos. Tell your kids that if they should receive inappropriate photographs from others, you expect them to notify you.