Tackling the pitfalls of social media continues to be a difficult challenge for many of our students. Everything we read continues to tell us that proper adult monitoring is the best way to guide our children through the jungle of appropriate Internet usage and keep them safe in the process. One of the biggest challenges we see is staying on top of which social media websites and services children are accessing. Above all, we want our students to maintain a safe and productive "digital footprint" on the web.
- Remember that children have access to the internet through many different devices including cell phones, computers, tablets, video games, iPods and more. Be sure to monitor all devices, even ones that they keep with them much of the time.
- Be proactive about monitoring and searching all electronic devices that your child has access to. Randomly check web browser history, text message history to look for inappropriate content.
- Consider a mandatory nighttime central charging station for all electronic devices so that your child is not using them without your knowledge at night.
- Know what sites your child uses. Monitor their use. Request that your child gives you his/her password to any accounts created online.
- If you allow your child to utilize social networking sites, check your child's privacy settings on those sites. Adjust the privacy settings to the highest degree of privacy possible.
- Computer programs that filter and block content can be helpful, but should not be relied on completely.
- Limit time spent online.
Cyber Bullying: What Can Parents Do?
- Communicate with your child.
- Monitor his/her electronic communications (online, text, e-mail) through unannounced random checks.
- Don't react to the bully. Support your child.
- Save all communications to share with the school and/or police.
- Block the bully if possible.
- Contact authorities if needed. Remember that many bullying behaviors are also illegal.
Communicate With Your Child
- Talk to your children about online behavior.
- Begin these conversations early and have them often.
- Be open and honest. You don't have all the answers. Being honest about that can build trust.
- Talk about YOUR expectations for their online behavior.
- Remind them that they should not type anything to another person if they wouldn't say it to them in person.
- Have reasonable expectations.
- Expect them to make mistakes and have a plan of action for when they make those mistakes.
- Kids can stumble onto inappropriate material very easily. Use these times as teachable moments.
- Make it clear that you care about their online behavior.
- Not everything they see or hear online is true.
- Not everyone is who they seem to be online.
- Once you post something, it can be shared by others and may be seen by anyone.
- Once you post something, it can be impossible to "unpost" it.
Social Networking Sites
- Set a good example yourself by using social networking safety.
- Guidelines for safety:
- Never share your personal information, including pictures.
- Think before posting.
- NEVER meet someone in person that you first contacted online.
- Limit friends to people you know.
- Set privacy settings to highest privacy possible.
- Remind kids to tell a parent if something makes them uncomfortable.