Social media is a great way to get in touch with other people. It became more relevant during the pandemic and is seen to have a bigger part of our lives in the post-pandemic world. With the rise of usage across the globe comes the challenges on how to keep social media safe.
Key Points at a Glance:
- Read the privacy clause and disclosures.
- Comply with safety guidelines such as age restrictions.
- Be vigilant when using social media.
Thus, it is important to educate kids on how to navigate social media. Here are 5 tips to help you use social media safely:
Take disclaimers seriously – Minors sometimes open social media accounts using fake ages. Orient your kids why it is not advisable to do so. Be mindful of the age restrictions because they are safeguards to protect users.
Most frequently used social media apps can be used by ages 13+: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter while WhatsApp is advised for users aged 16+.
The age restriction is a preventive measure to ensure that minors will not be exposed to content that is not age-appropriate.
Remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch – Have you ever seen a promo that asks for your contact information such as name, home address, and email address? Be mindful to not give those freely! Those details are your “personally identifiable information” and should not be provided for unnecessary transactions. In the wrong hands, personally identifiable information can be used for identity theft.
Discuss to your child that personally identifiable information should always be kept private. If these are really needed for an online transaction, a reputable website or app will ask for “verifiable parental consent” especially if the user is still a minor.
Guard your location – using “check ins” or location stickers may be hip but explain to your child the security risks of doing so. Social media platforms such as Instagram have options to make the account “private” and to limit story viewers.
Even if you do not share your location over a social media platform, you may be unknowingly doing so. Make sure to check your child’s geotagging feature.
Be wary of the digital footprint – Explain the two kinds of digital footprint to your child. The passive digital footprint refers to a users’ online information gathered from a website that is then stored in a digital location. An active digital footprint on the other hand may refer to user information that is seen online such as comments or posts.
Teach your child to think before they post or visit a website.
Check your privacy settings – reputable websites and social media platforms have easy to understand data privacy information. Know what you share when you visit websites and when you use social media apps. Know how your data is used. Safety starts with communication.
Talk to your kid about these safety tips and take the chance to explain why these are a must. With these tips, you and your child can navigate social media safely together.
The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation. (n.d.). Digital footprints. Familylives.org.uk. Retrieved July 14, 2021, from https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/your-family/online-safety/digital-footprints/
Federal Trade Commission. (n.d.). Verifiable Parental Consent and the Children’s Online Privacy Rule. FTC.com. Retrieved July 14, 2021, from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/privacy-and-security/verifiable-parental-consent-childrens-online-privacy-rule
Home Security Blogger. (2016, August 16). Geotagging Your Photos: Dangerous or Harmless Information? Safestreetes.com. https://www.safestreets.com/geotagging-your-photos-dangerous-or-harmless-information/