Do you know what Facebook is? What about Twitter and Instagram? Well your kids do, even if other people in your house aren’t well versed on these communication phenomenons. Kids are way more technologically advanced than generations before. As a parent, it’s important to establish rules of engagement for kids online.
If you aren’t keeping yourself up to date and part of the conversation, you will lose important, teachable moments for your kids. Soon, your kids will be asking to set up accounts and their friends are probably already using them. Establishing guidelines or rules ahead of time can help avoid problems in the future. Below is a list of rules of engagement, that may seem like common sense, but can be easily missed:
- Get permission from you before setting up a profile on any social networking site.
- Don’t talk to or accept any invitations from strangers to connect.
- Never post private information like phone numbers or addresses.
- Tell your kids to avoid questionnaires, giveaways or contests.
- Block anyone who is being mean or harassing. But don’t delete conversations; if things escalate, it’s important to be able to show everything to an adult.
- If you feel uncomfortable or bullied, talk to a parent or another trusted adult about the issue. (You can find more resources on bullying at StopBullying.gov and NCPC.org.)
- Never engage in bullying toward other people online.
- Always log out of your social media accounts when leaving a computer, especially a public or school computer
- Never give out passwords to anyone besides a parent.
As a parent, don’t forget behind the scenes monitoring that can give you piece of mind in allowing your kids some “independence” with social media.
- Check privacy settings on your computer and social media sites such as Facebook.
- Keep the computer in a central location like the family room or kitchen. It’s much easier to monitor what your child is doing on-line when they are in sight.
- Monitor what your child posts on-line from messages as well as pictures. Most kids don’t understand the permanence of negative posts and pictures of themselves that can have on their future.
- Use filtering software to monitor your child’s Internet usage. Some software even allows you to view exact keys typed, time spent on-line and all computer activity in general.
Finally, you should get to know the sites that are out there accessible to your children. They pick up technology fast so as parents we must stay ahead of or at least keep up with the other people wanting access to our children.