The holiday season has come and gone and when it comes to the gifts your kids have received, you can be sure of this: times have changed. The gifts that kids and teens are asking for these days are drastically different than what we asked for “back in the day.”
With smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles being at the top of the list, parents may start to wonder what exactly their kids are doing, seeing and experiencing on these complex devices.
Did you know these alarming stats?
- 90% of children age 8-16 have seen a pornographic image online.
- 35% of college admissions officers check applicants’ social media profiles, and 42% said what they found had a negative impact on the applicant.
- 95% of Generation Z (born between 1996-2010) use YouTube
- 50% of Generation Z (born between 1996-2010) say that they could not live without YouTube
- 59% of 12- to 17-year-olds use Snapchat at least once per month each month throughout the year.
- 32% of teenagers consider Instagram to be the most important social network.
What does all this mean? We aren’t here to scare you, but at the very heart of the matter, parents want their kid to be safe and smart on whatever new techy gift they may receive. So how can you do this? How can you ensure that your kid will be safe and smart with their new “toys”?
Here are a few safeguards you can set in place.
Even if your kid has had a device for a while, it is still good to implement these safety steps:
- Always know usernames and passwords for each account.
- Make sure accounts are set to private. This includes location sharing, friends, etc.
- Know who your child follows on social media platforms and also who follows them.
- Make sure privacy setting are set correctly for each social network. Download our complete social media settings guide.
Start Small and Slow
Limiting your kid’s usage of technology is wise. For example, allow only one social media platform at a time. When they have proven that you can trust them, you might allow them to gain another one. Remember, you’re the parent, and it’s a privilege that they get to have these devices, so feel free to use your influence to set boundaries and agreements.
Set Agreements, Not Rules
When it comes to social media expectations and boundaries for your kid, try setting agreements, not rules: both parties will win! Your child wants freedom, and you want them to make smart choices. So when it comes to social media or games, you can establish boundaries and they can have freedoms within those boundaries. Also, set clear, appropriate, and agreeable expectations of what the consequences will be if your child breaks an agreement. One way to establish these agreements is by both you and your child signing a contract. Here’s one we created in case you wanted to use it! Social Media Agreement
We must add, while having guardrails is wise, there’s no “silver bullet” for keeping kids 100% safe on devices that are connected to the Internet.
It’s hard to be empowered and informed in the constantly changing social media climate that our children live in these days and if you are like many parents, you feel helpless and overwhelmed with all of the different applications, social media platforms and devices available.
Be Socially Smart has heard the cry and has created a way to help empower you with the tools and information you need to keep your kids safe. You don’t have to be overwhelmed, uninformed, or trapped in fear when it comes to this area of your kid’s life.
We offer two ways for you to be involved:
- Go to BeSociallySmart.com and read up on the free information and resources created with you in mind.
- Join the Community! For the price of one dinner out, you will receive monthly email updates, breaking news in social media, free downloads and, the highly valuable private Facebook group full of parents, leaders, and caregivers who are all on the same journey as you are with the kids in your life.