Parenting kids is hard enough, parenting kids with social media is another thing…
Without clear guidance from us as parents, and education on the consequences of oversharing, our kids can open themselves to damages we can’t even predict. This is an enormous challenge, but a challenge worth understanding and taking on.
Strong boundaries and education around social media are important as data thieves, and other criminals, don’t consider age a deterrent.
In fact, a child’s information has more value to an identity thief than an adult because they have clean credit files and typically a longer length of time before discovery, creating even more damage.
Helping our kids to understand what they are doing, what impacts their social media behavior has in the long term is more important than ever. If our job is to equip them to face this world without us, we have to ensure they are aware of the implications of their online activities.
Talk to your kids about how to avoid strangers. Have conversations about revealing too much about themselves and their family. Give them tips on social media safety and talk to them about things that could be a red flag. And encourage them to come to you when uncomfortable things happen or if they have any questions.
Tips for Kids and Parents
- Learn about social media platforms. Whichever app your child wants to be on, learn about it. Read the reviews, age restrictions, and the fine print.
- Get an account before your kids. Learn the app, make sure you know exactly what they can and cannot do.
- Teach your child about posting. Every post, comment, like, and share is part of your kid’s digital footprint. And deleting a post does not mean it is gone. Inappropriate posts may have an impact on their lives later. Posts may not seem like a big deal now but it could hurt them in the future. Most college admissions and employers are looking at social media accounts.
- Emphasize the importance of privacy. Many social media sites request information such as names, dates of birth, school names, and hometown. Teach them about how much information is too much information. The information exposed online can create exposure and vulnerability to Identity theft.
Let’s all commit to paying attention!