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child's safety On Social Media

Child’s Safety On Social Media & The Internet! – H&S Education & Parenting

How To Ensure Your Child’s Safety On Social Media & The Internet
child's safety on social media

There is no denying that we live in a digital world. Social media has taken over everything we do. It’s not just our lives but also our children’s lives that have started to revolve around social media. As we are in many parts of the world still experiencing lockdowns, we have become more and more dependent on the internet and social media not just for communication purposes but also for information such as news on the current pandemic. Right now in Kenya, kids’ school holidays have begun and you will find them spending more time on their gadgets. It’s therefore important to know what apps your child has access to & who they speak to, to avoid them coming across inappropriate content as well as speaking to strangers that could harm them. Yes, it’s easy to keep your child busy by giving them access to your phone/tablet but did you know by doing so, you could be doing more harm than good? Your role as a parent is to ensure your child’s safety and well-being & this rule applies to the internet & social media as well. You need to monitor their access and usage on the internet, be vigilant, and how much access your child has online. Have open conversations and alert them about the dangers of talking to strangers online and most importantly set rules with consequences as this is not a light matter. Kids should only be allowed and encouraged to use the internet and social media in a positive manner. Remember, safety begins at home! If your child is young then you need to make sure you control what he/she can have access to & this is when parental control comes to play. Enable the security features to prevent your child from being accidentally exposed to inappropriate content as well as tune the settings on their device to ask for your permission before a certain app can be installed. Keep the screen time-limited and the gadget be it a phone or a tablet locked with a password. For older children who are of an understanding age:

1. Emphasize On Using A Profile With Privacy Settings- Kids are getting more and more tech-savvy and sometimes creativity can get out of hand. Teach them LESS IS MORE. Let them know that they shouldn’t share too much information unnecessarily due to misuse. All personal information should never be shared. Remember, your child will need an explanation on why it’s not good to share personal information. You can tell them there are all kinds of people good and bad who can see that information and misuse it to hack into accounts, impersonate and cause harm. Always monitor your child’s profile online as it’s important for you as a parent to check and approve everything. Show them how to set their privacy settings to limit audiences. Tell them not to share personal photographs online. If they do restrict who can see them. Keep an eye on their friend’s list and make sure it’s only family and friends and not strangers that they have added or accepted. Always keep a check and the best way to do this is by helping them set a password and knowing that password. This way you can monitor them without hampering their freedom. Be their friend on social media accounts as this way even if they change their password you will have a fair idea about what is happening.

2. Teach Them Less Is More & The Implications Of Over-Sharing Information- Over-sharing information can put your child at risk. Make sure you teach your child to not post about their status as this could put them at risk, also teach them that not everything they share over a chat is safe and if hackers have control of someone’s account they could be stealing information. If a stranger asks for a number, help, or says your mum knows me etc let them know not to reply before confirming with you. Kids think without understanding consequences and hence it is very important for you as the parent to make them aware of different situations which could put your child at risk.

3. Educate Them On Cyberbullying- This is a topic of interest for all age groups especially for the younger ones and the teens who can easily be a target. Educate them that this is a form of bullying using electronic means and is done to cause harm. Teach them to be kind and at the same time protect them from harm by making sure they have good communication with you. Make them aware so if they do come across it they can tell you and you can report it. Teach them it’s wrong and it should always be reported. This way you keep your child and other children somewhat protected online.

4. Alert Them Of Catfishing/Cyberstalking- While cyberbullying is common practice among teenagers, catfishing a form of cyberstalking is where a user uses a fake ID to start a point of communication with your child. This could be a pedophile who impersonates as a child to start a friendly conversation. It’s important you educate your child about this and teach them to look out for red flags such as limited pictures, pictures that don’t look real, asking for inappropriate things such as money or personal photos.

5. Emphasize On Sticking To Age-Appropriate, Trusted Apps & Sites- Most apps and social sites have age requirements and it’s important your child meets and adheres to this. It’s also important to understand that good apps or sites will have a policy stated that they will never post on your behalf but apps that you aren’t certain about, are best to keep away from as they could use your information without your knowledge.

6. Keep Their Location ‘TURNED OFF”- Kids may not realize that the mobile location can alert strangers of their whereabouts. It’s important to make sure that this is disabled at all times for certain apps so that they aren’t able to share their live location with strangers.

7. Look Out For Scammers & Hackers- Kids get carried away with the ‘Free Giveaways’, online games with prizes not knowing that it could be a way of scammers to get out personal information or it could be a hacker trying to infect the device with a virus. It’s therefore important to know what’s true and what’s not. Always ask them to check with you before giving in details. If it’s not legitimate then that could mean trouble.

 

Do you have any parental challenges? Let us know If you have any concerns or questions about parenting, leave your comments below & our expert will get back to you!

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