Parenting and Social Media Safety of Kids Online

Medically reviewed by: Ilbey Ucar – PhD (Psychology)

Last updated date : July 21, 2022

Firstly, parenting is no simple task. People may tell you it’s the best thing in the world. You might agree. Yet, deep down you know how trying and challenging parenting can get. Merely keeping an eye out for any physical harms that your children might face, in today’s world, isn’t enough. Due to the dangers of the internet, parenting and kids online needs careful consideration. With children as young as 6 or 7 years old having social media accounts, parenting and social media safety is increasingly a concern. 

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Firstly, parenting is no simple task. People may tell you it’s the best thing in the world. You might agree. Yet, deep down you know how trying and challenging parenting can get. Merely keeping an eye out for any physical harms that your children might face, in today’s world, isn’t enough. Due to the dangers of the internet, parenting and kids online needs careful consideration. With children as young as 6 or 7 years old having social media accounts, parenting and social media safety is increasingly a concern. 

Whilst there are dangers online, with the right limits children can be safe online. Good parenting can guide a child online, provide healthy limits for what is and is not appropriate. In this article, we will help you to decide your limits for your child’s social media use. 

Over the last few years, parenting challenges have changed immensely. Being a parent today involves not only ensuring your child that there are no monsters under their bed. But, also, making sure that there are no monster on their WhatsApp contact list, Facebook friends list and Tiktok messages.

Parenting and kids online, parenting and social media safety are real concerns. With technology changing everyday, it’s important to be aware of what is happening. There are new tools available for parents. Social media companies, different phone providers all have apps and technologies to help keep parents aware of what their kids do online.  

Social Media shown on TV, watched by parent and a child. The child is excited.

Chapter 1:
Social Media and Smart Generation’s Kids Online

By now, many children know how to use the internet. However, it’s important to remind them that they’re still learning. That being said, they might not be aware of the dangers of being connected to social media without break. The Smart Generation, or ‘Gen Z,’ is called the first “completely digital generation”. In fact, they tend to be online after midnight almost every day. Raising awareness among kids on how to use the internet safely can help to address concerns. It will also avoid inappropriate conduct.

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Chapter 2:
Helpful Info on Popular Social Media

Here are some well-known social media platforms and the facts as parents you should know about them.

1. Facebook

Minimum age: 13 years
Users can share photos, videos, and comments on this widely used social media app. Furthermore, It has a facility for quick messaging. People from all walks of life can use Facebook to keep up with friends, family, and activities.

2. WhatsApp

Minimum age: 16 years
WhatsApp is a popular messaging program. Users can send text messages, audio messages, videos, and images to one or many people free of charge. It only allows access to those on your contact list. People who aren’t on your contact list can talk with you in a group chat, however.

3.Instagram

Minimum age: 13 years
Users can take images and short videos, edit them, and share them. The content might be private or public depending on the privacy settings. Sharing and commenting are both possible on the platform. No one can see or comment on a post if the account is private. In fact, sharing harmful content with friends and using location tags to share your whereabouts publicly are both risks.

4. Twitter

Minimum age: 13 years
This is a microblogging site. Users can keep their “tweets” private or public. Furthermore, It can assist teenagers in staying in touch with their friends and favorite celebs. Even if a tweet can be deleted on Twitter, the text that was posted may have been copied or saved. There is a trend of Twitter being used by adults as well.

5. Snapchat

Minimum age: 13 years
Snapchat is a popular photo-sharing program. It lets users exchange photos and videos. When the timer runs out, the content will self-destruct. People can still snap screenshots and save the content, so keep that in mind. Some may think that their photos are deleted forever but that is not the case. Nevertheless, the Discover option may provide children with access to potentially harmful content.

6.Tiktok

Minimum age limit: 13 years TikTok is a video-sharing-focused social networking app. It is known in China as Douyin. It’s used to make a variety of short-form videos. It includes genres like dance, comedy, and education. Video’s duration varies from fifteen seconds to three minutes.

Here are some useful hints for using social media securely with your children. Parenting your kids who spend most of their hours online just might get easier with the following hints.

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Chapter 3:
Parenting Tips on Social Media Safety

1). Communicate with your kids about social media security.

Children are naturally curious to learn. Therefore, they yearn to learn new things. They strive for the experience. As a parent, you must talk to your kids about things that they don’t know. Usually, parents often warn kids to avoid strangers. They are taught to prevent revealing too much about themselves. The situation is the same around the internet and Social media. Therefore, while parenting, you need to warn kids about digital ‘Free Candy Vans’ all over the internet trying to lure kids in via online methods. Without knowing they can walk into many traps.

On the other hand, social media can be a hotspot for things like cyberbullying and illegal behavior. Without giving any considerable thought, kids sometimes share more information online than they should. Parenting also involves teaching kids general social media safety. Teach them about some of the social media safety tips in this article to help them learn about what could be red flags.

Most teens:

  • Post images of themselves online or use their real names on their sites
  • Expose their birthdates and interests
  • List their school and hometown on their profiles.

As a result, they may be easy prey for online predators and anyone who wishes to harm them. 

2). Set the do’s and don’ts of online behavior.

It’s no secret that teenagers and preteens are social media enthusiasts. It makes it tough for parents to keep track of their children’s activities. Therefore, setting some ground rules can help them. It can relieve the stress that comes with parenting kids who go online to use social media.

Parenting tips on preteens' online safety

  • Place your computer in a common part of your houses. Place it in the living room or kitchen. Set aside locations for people to use tablets and cell phones. This will let you keep track of the websites your child visits. Also, if you’re close, they might be less tempted to go to places or do things they’re not supposed to.

  • Allow your youngster to use the internet for a specific amount of time each day. Spending all of their free time on social media sites is not healthy. These sites can take up a lot of time. It’s possible that homework will be an exception. However, using their smartphones at the dinner table must be limited.

Parenting tips on teenagers' online safety

  • As part of your parenting methods regarding kids online, ask them to stick to sites that are suitable for their age group. The majority of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have a 13-year-old minimum age requirement.

  • For children, some of these sites have extra security options. For example, Facebook auto-sets stronger privacy settings for children than for adults. Therefore, make sure your youngster signs up with the correct birth year. Twitter lets users to make their accounts private. In that instance, the user must allow all requests for follow-up.

  • Talk to kids about the dangers of sexting. Remind them that what is posted online can easily be shared with others. For those who are not much familiar, “Sexting” is sending sexually explicit messages, photos, or videos via social media apps. It can also happen over e-mail. Parenting now involves reminding kids that nothing is ever really deleted online. Anyone, such as friends, teachers, and potential employers can find past posts. Although most dating sites like Tinder, Grindr, Bumble are for people over 18 years old, many teens know about them. Online dating services allow users to create a profile. Then, allow them to upload personal details and photos. In addition, others can encourage users to share indecent photos.

3). Strong bonds beyond typical parent-child relationship.

Another factor regarding parenting and social media safety could be, making strong bonds between you and your kids. There is one plain reason for children to seek solace at the hands of strangers online. That is the estranged relations they have with their parents. The more kids spend time online, the more estranged their relations with parents become. But, you can always mend it. Make sure your kids are comfortable enough with you to share anything. Instead of being bossy, respect their privacy. Let them open up to you. Encourage children to come to you for guidance whenever there is a problem that they can not resolve.

Yelling or punishing is ineffective. Some children are way too sensitive to bear the scolding of parents. Open conversation about emotions in the parent-child connection may be especially important in the development of children’s emotional understanding. Insecure parents, on the other hand, may inhibit emotional dialogue. It will limit their children’s opportunities to learn about emotions.

Most importantly, if children can guess your negative reaction, they will not share. Kids will bottle up their feelings. Therefore, assure them that you are here to support them. It will prove effective. As a precaution, it’s good to teach them about laws regarding the internet. Then they will avoid violating them knowingly. Although this is not specifically about social media safety, here are some basic ways to spend some quality time with kids while parenting.

  • Have meals together.

  • Talk about your day- ask about theirs.

  • Be respectful and expect the same.

  • Show Your Child Love every day.

4) Set an example with your online behavior.

It’s true that teenagers and preteens tend to frequent social media. Nevertheless, adults also use social media just as much. It is not considered taboo or awkward that you have a Facebook account. It is okay to be fifty-five years old and follow your celebrities on Twitter. In fact, It is sophisticated to text your kids via WhatsApp. Keep in mind that setting a positive example through your own online behavior can go a long way. It can ensure that your children’s social media safety. Therefore, firstly you need to educate yourself on how these social media platforms work.

Request access to your child’s account credentials if they want to join a social media site. This might help you keep an eye out for many things. You can monitor their bad behaviors such as adding strange friends, receiving suspicious messages, or uploading offensive content. Convince them that, the more responsible they are, the more benefits they will receive.

If your child is an older adolescent, they may believe that providing you access to their account is intrusive. Consider making a deal. Demand that they add you as a friend. Then, you can keep track of their activity through your own account. As an example, you can follow them on Twitter. Friend them on Facebook. If they seem okay with it, you can even join their groups on WhatsApp.

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Chapter 4:
A Word of Farewell

Parenting and social media do not merely revolve around you advising your kids to be safe. It is about other kids’ safety as well. 99% of the time when a child is bullied, the bully is a peer. So, chances are the bully is just another kid from the same school. Therefore, it is important to teach your kids manners. Ask them to be nice, online as well as offline. Make it plain to your children that you expect them to treat people with respect. Make them promise you never to send cruel or embarrassing communications.  Also, remind them to always notify you if they get any harassing or bullying communications from others.

Kids can be frustrating at times. They are bound to make mistakes. Parents should treat them with respect. Because that is just as vital as disciplining them. Maybe, children will do something that necessitates discipline. On that account, It is up to you to speak to them in a calm and compassionate manner.

With the ongoing pandemic situation, it is fair to let children connect. Although they can’t get together with their friends physically, they can use social media to get together. Also, online education has also been on the fast track. Therefore, access must be granted to social media at least for educational purposes. Being cooped up at home is not good for their emotional well-being. Therefore, as parents, you must understand the importance of social media to youth. At the same time, you must not be reluctant to draw the line when necessary.

FAQs

1). How does social media affect parenting?

A lot of parents worry about how social media use can affect their child’s health and safety. Social media can also pile on the pressure parents feel with their own parenting, it can raise self-doubts. Am I a good enough parent? These worries are normal, seek feedback and reassurance from other family memebers. 

Social media can also be a helpful tool for parents. We all learn from watching other people. There lots of helpful message, videos and forums online for parents. 

2). How can kids use social media safely?

Health parenting and social media safety, with the right tools can be achieved. Having your kids use social media safely, involves becoming aware of the dangers, having open age-appropriate discussion with them and using the right technology tools. 

3). How should parents manage social media?

It depends on the age of your child, their maturity, concerns that you have and what you can agree on with your child. We think having open discussions with your child about the dangers and what you as a parent want to do, can help keep your child safe online. 

At Epsychonline we have a range of mental well-being resources. We have our in depth Learn articles and more shorter Read-More articles which you can access for free. In addition, we have a range of mental health courses, some of which are developed for young people. 

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways of coping with chronic fatigue

99 Lessons

3 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount