In 2021 you cannot prevent your children from getting access to social media. There is no chance you can win the war against 21st-century technology. What you can do, instead, as a parent is to make sure that your children get the proper introduction to the wide world of social media and are well-prepared to use it safely and properly.
We’ve put together this guide with 6 social media tips for parents to ensure that social media for kids is done right.
Tip 1: Talk about Social Media
The first step in getting your children properly started on social media is to have an open, honest conversation about it. Depending on your kids’ age, they might have heard different things about social media platforms. They might have or not have an accurate idea of what these are.
It is your responsibility as a parent to explain to your kids what social media is, to list the numerous advantages that it provides to people in 2021, and to also warn them against the potential threats which using social media in an unwisely manner carries.
However, you should be careful not to scare your children away from social media networks and other technology. To be well-fit for the new reality, your kids have to know how to use social media in the right way.
Tip 2: Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Kids
The second step in the process of setting up social media for kids right is to decide together with your children on the best and most appropriate social media platforms for their needs.
This decision will depend mostly on your children’s age, environment, and community.
Regardless of age, your kids will probably want access to YouTube so that they can watch different videos such as cartoons, educational videos, or music clips. YouTube is basically a must in social media for children.
The choice of the other social media networks on which your kids can be active depends on what you agree with them.
Take into consideration their age. For example, while a 5-year old has no place on Facebook, this social media platform is basically a requirement for every 10-year old who doesn’t want to be ostracized.
Another key factor in this decision is what social media networks their peers use. While the fact that your neighborhood allows her 7-year-old daughter to use Instagram doesn’t mean that you have to do that, it’s definitely a factor you should keep in mind. For instance, if your child’s classmates have created a Facebook group to discuss homework assignments and after-school activities, it might be a good idea to let your kid join in as well.
Tip 3: Make It about Family and Friends
Most kids, especially those who are not teenagers yet, don’t understand the full power and scope of social media. That’s why social media for kids is very much what their parents make it to be.
If your children are still young but insist on creating some social media accounts, let them do it as a way to communicate and stay in touch with family, relatives, friends, and classmates. Actually, social media for children is particularly important in 2021 at times of social distancing and lack of much effective, meaninging in-person communication.
For example, have your kids connect with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins over Facebook. Let them join a school class Facebook group.
Make sure to explain to your children that communication on social media should be done in pretty much the same way as communication in real life. Tell them about “Stranger Danger” online. Advise them to only connect with and talk to people they know in real life. Warn them not to accept friendship requests and connection invitations from people they don’t know.
Tip 4: Get Started Together
Once you and your young ones have talked about what being active on social media entails and you’ve agreed on where to begin, help your children get started. Even if you are not the most tech-savvy person on earth, you probably have some experience with social media sites, which you can transfer to your kids when getting started.
Create an account on the platform that you’ve selected. Choose an appropriate photo of your child. If your kid is still relatively young, it’s advisable to select a photo which shows him/her with you and/or your spouse. In this way, your kid’s profile photo will be more secure against misuse.
The next step is to write age-appropriate info about your child. Mention his/her interests, hobbies, favorite books and TV shows, etc. Add your child’s school if this is an option on the social media platform that you’re using.
In social media for kids, the most important step is to ensure that your child only connects with people whom he/she knows in real life. Start by adding yourself and your spouse and clearly marking that you are the parents. This will improve the safety of your child’s social media account. Then you can move on to adding other relatives and specifying the relationship with them. Then branch out to classmates, neighborhood kids, and anyone else whom your kid knows and is appropriate to connect with over social media.
As soon as you have the account ready, you should schedule the first few social media posts of your child together. Show him/her how to choose only appropriate photos and videos, how to upload them, how to write captions, and how to tag other accounts.
Finally, ask your child to consult with you when someone asks to connect with him/her so that you can decide together whether to accept or decline the invite.
Tip 5: Set Up the Privacy Settings
One of the crucial social media safety tips for parents when helping their children get started is to work on the privacy settings. Social media platforms allow you to set up a wide range of privacy and security settings such as who can view your profile, who can see your social media posts, who can contact you, etc.
If your child is young, make sure that you have the highest-level of safety and security enabled on his/her social media accounts.
Tip 6: Check Your Kid’s Social Media Accounts Regularly
The social media tips for parents don’t end up with having your child all set up. Your work as a parent continues after that.
Social media for kids in 2021 is as dynamic as it is for adults. This means that your child’s social media account requires ongoing scrutiny by you, as the parent. Make sure that you explain to your kid that you will be keeping an eye on his/her activity to ensure that he/she is staying safe at all times. Assure your child that this doesn’t mean that you don’t trust him/her or that you want to limit his/her freedom. This should be presented as a necessary precaution because there are social media users who might want to take advantage of your child, just as there are such people in real life. Once again, remind them of the “Stranger Danger” situation.
Just as in any aspect of parenting, social media for kids is all about having a strong, personal relationship with your child based on mutual trust, love, and respect. Keeping kids off social media networks is not only unnecessary but also unwise. We all know that the forbidden fruit is the sweetest. With these 6 simple social media tips for parents, you and your child are all set to explore the unlimited possibilities of social media together.