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Internet Safety Tips

Internet Safety Tips

With summer just around the corner, kids and teenagers will be spending more time on social media channels and less time supervised by an adult. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to ensure your family is staying safe online.

Social Media Can Wait

Don’t be afraid to ask your child (13 or younger) why he/she feels social media sites such as SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Facebook are appropriate for their age group? Ask them why they want to be on social networking sites. If you feel like they are not ready to have a social media account, explain to them why you do not feel comfortable with the idea, the benefits of not having a social media account, and the perks of enjoying real-world activities over social media. Remind them that social media sites are not going anywhere. They have the rest of their lives to be active on social media accounts.

Know Their Passwords

It is important for you to know their passwords and periodically check their social media channels for anything out of the ordinary. Make sure your child is aware you know their passwords, that you will be routinely checking their page as a way to ensure their safety (not as a means to be “nosey”), and that your primary goal is their safety.  

Accept Parents’ Friend Request

We can already hear the uproar, “No! My mom joined Instagram and she wants to be my friend…Ugh. Gotta start using SnapChat instead…” The important part is to explain why accepting your friend request on social media channels is significant to their safety. Encourage other adult friends to follow/friend your child.

Friends Only

Privacy settings should be set to the highest level possible (i.e Friends Only). Privacy settings are relatively the same for each platform but periodically they are updated, so stay informed with the privacy settings to ensure your child is protected. Additionally, make sure your children know not to share personal information such as where they live, phone numbers, or any information you wouldn’t want on the web. As a house rule, your children should not accept anyone on any of their social media channels whom they do not know personally.

**Parents, it is your job to make sure they are sticking to this rule!

Helpful Suggestions:

As an adult, you need to be the expert. Stay informed of the latest social media channels, how they work, their privacy settings, etc.

We suggest the “family computer” be kept in a common area of the home where everyone has access to the computer and it is clearly visible. If your child has his or her own laptop or iPad, it is important to come up with guidelines of when, where, and how long he or she uses it. The same can be said for cell phones.

To help both parties agree on the terms and conditions of using technology, create a family contract that outlines your expectations as well as theirs. This will help ease conflicts down the road. If you are looking for an example of a contract, head on over to: Cyber Bullying Website

For more helpful tips and advice visit our blog!

STARS exists to serve schools and communities by providing prevention, intervention, and treatment services addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence and social and emotional barriers to success.