Talking to children about social media safety
There's no question that social media has radically changed the way we communicate. In just over
five years, the opportunities and advantages for those who use it
properly have exploded. However, when not used wisely, social media
can have damaging consequences. That's why parents can't talk enough
to their children about social media safety. To help facilitate those
conversations, the following information and resources are being
Tips for parents
Reprinted with permission from Parent Today,
"Why we need to pay attention to our kids' social media"
- Open up a dialogue. Encourage your child to
stay away from sites that promote anonymous interaction. Remind
children never to share personal information with someone they
don't know, such as allowing a program to access their location,
or any personal information that could potentially identify them
(such as hometown). Remind them that just because someone sounds
like a cool teenager doesn't mean they actually are.
- Talk to your children about cyberbullying.
Discuss how anonymity can lead to bad behavior and cruel comments.
- Review social networking tips, and set guidelines for
what's OK to post online and what's not. Be sure to check
privacy settings on any website they sign on to, particularly for
- Review your child's apps and contacts on their
cellphone. Don't recognize someone? Ask why they are on
your child's phone. You have a right and an obligation to know
what they are doing â€” particularly if you are paying for their
- Remind your children to think before they post.
Kindness counts. If they wouldn't say it to someone's
face, don't say it online. The
Dignity for All
Students Act and related New York State laws make schools
accountable for certain online student behavior â€” especially
harassment, discrimination and bullying â€” even when it occurs off
campus and outside of school hours. A child's inappropriate cyber
activity could have severe consequences for his or her academic
career if it creates a significant disruption within the school.
- Be aware of history. Check the computer's
browser history for information on sites your child is visiting.
There is no mechanism to prevent a child from saying they are over
the age of 13 when they are not. They are savvy enough to figure
out how to compute an age that makes them old enough to set up an
- Get with the program. Check out the various
websites that are out there. Get an account for yourself and see
what your children can and can't do online.
Read connect Safely's Parent Guides on
cybersecurity, cyberbullying, instagram and snapchat
- Check the settings on your computer to ensure
as much as possible that your child doesn't have access to
inappropriate content. Make sure parental controls are set on the
computer your child uses, or they could get an education you're
not planning on.
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