Keep Your Kids Safe on Social Networks

By Scott Steinberg
Boys playing on a tablet

Children, tweens and teens have easy access to more social networks than you may realize. Although most social media apps are off limits to children under 13, a 2011 study by researchers Danah Boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz and John Palfrey found that a third (36%) of all parents surveyed reported that their child joined Facebook before the age of 13.

To keep kids safe online, it’s important to have open conversations about social media use often. Not sure how to begin? Here are a set of questions to consider as your family looks at using social networks:

  • What kinds of new opportunities do social networks create for your family?
  • What sorts of activities are okay on social networks?  Which are not?
  • Who is it OK for kids to be friends with online?
  • How do we want our children to be able interact with them?
  • What happens if kids get a friend request from strangers?
  • What social networks sites are okay for our family?
  • Are there any time limits our family will place on the use of social networks?
  • What’s the process we will be using to check on kids’ activity?
  • Will our family use monitoring software to track behavior?
  • What times of day is it okay to access social networks? When is it not?
  • What personal information is okay to discuss on social networks, and what is not?
  • What do we want kids to do if they come across bad behavior such as cyberbullying online?
  • What are your family’s biggest concerns about social networks, and how will you avoid them?

Want to make having this conversation with your kids even easier?

Consider using The Smart Talk and create a customized “contract” that you can print out and hang on the fridge, so no one is confused about what is and is not allowed.

Award-winning professional speaker Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists, and the bestselling author of  The Modern Parent’s Guide to Facebook and Social Networks.

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