Essential Tips To Prepare Parents and Kids for Social Media

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With spring break fast approaching and many children set to receive more technology that allows them access to social media, here is important information to prepare parents and the children. 

Safety is always a paramount concern and social media and the internet make it exceedingly difficult to protect children. 

Mercury Insurance has compiled Essential Tips for parents when allowing their children on social media. 

1. Set Parental Controls and Monitor Internet Usage

While parents need to walk a fine line between respecting their children’s privacy and being too nosy, there are many social media monitoring apps available to help to them observe their children’s online activities. A few popular parental monitoring apps include: Net NannyMy Mobile Watch Dog and Symantec Norton Family Premier. Parents can also use filters to limit internet use to certain sites, read chats and block messages. Another way to keep tabs on internet usage is to keep the family computers and connected devices, like tablets, in the living room or a common space – this will make things more public. It also might be a good idea to set specific hours for internet usage in order to restrict how much time your kids are spending online. Knowing who your kids are talking to online and what sites they frequent by checking the devices internet browsing history is similar to knowing who they are hanging out with at school.

2. Set Social Media Age Restrictions

Facebook doesn’t allow children under the age of 13 to create a profile, and this is a steadfast rule for most other social media sites as well. However, children with unrestricted internet access can easily lie about birthdates and set up accounts. Uphold age restrictions on social media channels by blocking access to these websites until your children are old enough and have a good understanding of what is and what is not appropriate behavior.

3. Beware of Catfish

Catfish is a term used for individuals who assume personas online that do not represent who they are in real life. These people could be posing as a real person or create a completely fictitious identity. Predators often develop personas that make it seem like they are much younger than they actually are in order to connect with children, so coach your children to avoid accepting friend requests from people who they don’t know personally. Make sure they understand the dangers of online friendships – because you never know exactly who is on the other side of those conversations.

4. Address Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying occurs when children are bullied by their peers on the internet. Bullying can have a profound impact on young people, and it’s important to actively discourage your kids from engaging in this type of behavior. Let your kids know that they can confide in you if they’re being bullied online. Make sure they’re aware hateful comments and unwanted messages can be restricted and even blocked through settings on their social media profiles to limit this type of unwanted interaction with others online. It can also result in criminal prosecution for both the child and parent in severe cases.

To read more check out the Mercury Insurance blog: https://blog.mercuryinsurance.com/home/8-social-media-tips-for-parents-kids/

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