Is your child on social media?
Published on March 1, 2014
NO UNDERAGE FACEBOOKING
Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook? However, there is no real way for Facebook to enforce this as anyone can lie about their date of birth. You need to make sure that your child stays away from Facebook until 13 and until you are comfortable. There are measures put in place, such as reporting an underage child.
CHECK PRIVACY SETTING
Check that your privacy settings for the Internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels. Depending on which browser you are using, you can adjust the settings directly from the options tab and adjust levels around cookies, third party sites and more. This not only protects the computer user, but also the computer from the threat of viruses.
USE FILTERING SOFTWARE
There are software suites you can purchase to monitor your child’s Internet usage; many even enable you to view the exact keys that were typed, time spent online and all computer activity in general. Popular programmes such as Net Nanny and PureSight PC let you monitor social media sites, block chats, filter content and much more.
CREATE GROUND RULES
If your kids are old enough to be using the computer on their own, they are old enough to understand that there are rules they need to abide by. Breaking them should not have a lesser consequence than if they broke a rule in the offline world. The best way for families to agree on ground rules is to create a contract that all parties must sign. Parents and kids must have an open discussion about these rules.
KNOW YOUR CHILD’S HABITS
You don’t need to be a super sleuth and spy on your kid’s every online move, but it is important to be aware of the kinds of sites he is frequenting and the people he is associating with. You get to know the friends he’s hanging out with at school, and his online friends shouldn’t be any different. One of the contract rules should be that you have full access to his Facebook friends and can take a look whenever you wish.
KEEP THE PC IN A CENTRAL LOCATION
It’s much easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone than if your child is using a computer in the privacy of her own room. Place the computer in a central location like your kitchen or family room so that everything is out in the open. This is crucial so that parents are aware of the content the children are reading and with whom they interacting.
LIMIT USING CELLPHONE
Just as you would limit use of a computer, TV or gaming system, you can do the same with a cell phone. Set rules for the device, only allowing cell phone usage at certain hours in the evening or after homework has been completed. If you have teens of driving age, the most important rule to enforce is that under no circumstances should cell phones ever be used while driving. Phones should be kept off so incoming text sounds aren’t a distraction or should be kept in the glove compartment, out of reach. These rules are crucial for your child as they can help save many lives while on the road.