Tips Toward a Safe and Positive Social Media Experience

Good Digital Parenting

The Family Online Safety Institute recommends that parents engage in “7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting” to keep abreast of all that is digital in our children’s lives.

1. Talk with your children. Talk to your children about your concerns regarding social media. Start discussing technology, the potential dangers, and what it can be used for at an early age. Remember to be open and honest about the issue.

2. Educate yourself. Technology moves at the speed of light. New things are developed every day that may or may not be appropriate for your child’s age group. If you do not have firsthand knowledge of an app or website, search for information about it.

3. Use parental controls. Check the safety controls on all of the Android and Apple devices that your family uses. On the iPhone, you can tap SETTINGS > GENERAL> RESTRICTIONS and you can create a password that allows you enable/disable apps and phone functions. On Android devices, you can turn on Google Play Parental Controls by going into the Google Play Store settings.

4. Friend and follow your children on social media. Whether it’s musical.ly, Instagram or Twitter, chances are that your children use some form of social media. If you have not already, then create an account and get on their friends list.

5. Explore, share and celebrate. Just like you may share your love of hiking, sports or hobbies with your children, learn to make the online world one of those, too. Go online and explore the internet with your children. Find apps and sites that you would use a family.

6. Be a good digital role model. Now is the time to review your own digital habits, too. The idiom “do as I say, not as I do” does not apply here. Be a digital role model.

7. Set ground rules and apply sanctions. Just like chore charts or family job lists, consider using a family social media or internet safety contract. These contracts establish ground rules for when devices are to be used; what they should and should not be doing on them; and to establish sanctions based on breaches of the family contract.

Managing Your Digital Footprint

Your digital footprint, according to dictionary.com, is “one’s unique set of digital activities, actions, and communications that leave a data trace on the internet or on a computer or other digital device and can identify the particular user or device.  There are a lot of helpful hints in this article to check on your Digital Footprint, one of the most extensive list I have found to help you and your children.

The information for this post is based on an article by Stephen Spengler in THE Journal, follow this link for the complete article and more details.