Last Tuesday (11/5/13) at our monthly Parent Tech Tuesday we discussed tips on helping keep your children safe when using social media. Our discussion was based on this Parenting.com article “13 Tips for Monitoring Kids’ Social Media” – below are my notes and resources from the discussion.

  1. No Underage Social Media/Online Services
    • Parents should be aware that all websites in the U.S. have to adhere to COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) which states that, at a minimum, children have to be 13 years old for certain biographical information to be collected. As such, many sites have Terms of Service (T.O.S.) that state that account holders must be at least 13 years old.
    • If a site requires a birthdate to sign up do not fudge this to gain access. Allowing your children to fudge their birthday sends a bad message to your children.
    • There is no need to get them started early. You would not let them drive or drink before it’s legal and this is no different.
  2. Check Privacy Settings
    • Always check your children’s accounts or speak to them about ensuring that their privacy settings are set to the strictest levels possible. This is true for sites as well as for your browsers, i.e., cookies and third party sites.
    • This same advice holds true for your children’s cell phones, iPads, tablets, etc.
    • As a reminder, there really is no privacy when it comes to the internet — “Think B4 U Ink” is a good reminder.
  3. Learn How Companies Use Your Data
  4. Use Filtering Software
  5. Create Ground Rules
    • Rules and Consequences
    • Have an open discussion on responsibility
      • Handing a child electronics without ground rules is like handing them a car without drivers education.
    • Use an electronic family agreement
  6. Get To Know Your Children’s Habits
    • What sites do they visit and why?
    • Who are they “hanging” out with? Online? On Cell?
    • Should have access to all accounts and friend lists.
    • True for cell phones as well.
  7. Keep Computers Centrally Located
    • High traffic zone.
    • Chromebooks — use for homework at the homework table.
  8. No Questionnaires, Free Giveaways or Contests
    • Avoid pop-up ads.
    • Be critical of anything forwarded from friends.
    • Avoid anything that collects any information.
  9. Monitor Pictures Posted Online
    • Ideally, a photo should never be posted but that’s just not possible.
    • Remind and ensure good and innocuous content in the photos.
    • Remember, no identifiable information in photos.
  10. Be a Good Example Yourself
    • If you tweet, update your facebook page, or text at a stop light or driving and are always checking “whenever you have a chance” that is precedence.
    • Ask, am I setting a good example?
  11. Limit Cell Phone Use
    • You most likely limit gaming and computer screen time. What about cell phones?
    • Set a separate set of rules for the phone as well. Certain hours of the day. See section on wireless parental controls.
    • Driving teens…no cell use when driving. That goes for you as well (set the example). Keep out of reach.
  12. Teach/Remind About Online Reputations
    • Understanding the permanence of the digital world is hard for children. Provide concrete examples.
    • What is a digital footprint? I prefer digital tattoo as footprints in the sand can wash away.
    • Do not subscribe to “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” as that was before the internet and instant everything.
    • Dangers of connecting with those you do not know. There is a line between scared vs. unaware. Being a little scared is better than being unaware.
    • Open lines of communication. Talk about how you share. What you avoid.
    • Reminder that everyone online is a stranger…really.
    • In person rules apply to the online world.
  13. Get to Know Technology
    • Kids are good with gadgets and clicking but that does not mean they are good with technology and being safe.
    • Get in the know yourself.
    • Lots of resources for learning. Youtube is great for learning about software and gadgets.

Resources

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