As a parent you want to what is best for you child. You want to protect them from all of the evil in the world for as long as you can. One viewing of the local or national news is enough to motivate you after all. But there is going to come a time when you child will want to get on social media. Their friends are all doing it after all and nothing can be more persuasive than peer pressure.

Social media platforms have a minimum age to join. For most it is 13 but for some it can be as young as 11. The problem with that is there is no way for Twitter or Facebook or any of the others to enforce that. Anyone who downloads the app or has Internet access can create a profile and can certainly lie about their age. As a parent vigilance is the best thing. Check their computer to make sure there is nothing in the browsing history and check their phone to make sure the apps are not installed. This may not stop a child from creating a profile (it is taboo and therefore more desirable to them after all) but it can make it much more difficult for them to get on in the first place.

Should you decide to allow your child to create an account on a social media platform the best thing that you as a parent can do is to be active with them. Social media platforms offer numerous privacy settings so make sure that once the account is created that those settings are set to the strictest levels. Not only will this keep your child safer as what they can do with the page is severely curtailed but it can help prevent them from clicking on something that they shouldn’t and getting a virus onto a computer. Many pieces of software can be used as well to limit your child’s time on the Internet. Timers can be set to allow for one hour or to cut access off at a certain time.

You were a child once. There was always that one thing that older kids had and when you possessed it finally you knew you were coming of age. It made you happy and other kids were envious of you. Your kids no different today. Having a social media account is a status symbol for them. Your kids are not going to want to hear about any ground rules but you need to sit them down and go over the ground rules with them. Let your kids know why you are restricting their access and what to look out for on social media to help them avoid bad situations. That may be hard, especially if you are not tech savvy but there are numerous resources available. Unfortunately child predators and bullies exist in the virtual world as well and your child needs to be aware of that if not anything else.

One of the ground rules that you should lay down is that you will monitor their account. That does not mean that you need to sit with them and hold their hand while they use the account but that you will look at their friends list, where they visit and what they do. You have tried to get to know the kids that they associate with in real life and the cyber world should be no different. Make sure that you child knows that having a social media account is a privilege and not a right. You can not only take it over should it be necessary but you can delete it as well. Make sure that you also monitor what the child is posting online. A photograph of themselves may seem harmless to them but you might see it differently.

For many families that share a computer it is kept in a central location. By doing this a child may be less likely to do something that they shouldn’t or at least will think twice about doing it. They never know when you are watching after all. It is easy to find content on social media that is not meant for children and your child could be more tech savvy than you are. By keeping the computer in the open it can keep them safer. To help with this there are even social media sites geared towards children.

Perhaps the best thing that you as a parent can do for you child is to be a good example on social media yourself. Set the example for your child. If you are irresponsible on social media your child has probably already picked up on that and will probably do the same thing. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree usually. If you act responsibly your child will probably do so as well.

This is certainly not an end all be all piece. Every child is different and not every child will be able to handle a social media account. You know your child best and will know when it is time.

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