Earlier this week, I posted about 5 Social Media sites your kids are probably using. (You can check it out here.) It's always good to know where our kids & teens are hanging out...even online. But it's even better to set some standards in our families to help keep our kids safe online & to help them win with things like social media.
So here are four guidelines that can help your family develop a plan for keeping your kids safe online.
4 Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe Online
#1: Know your kid's usernames and passwords. Regardless of how much or how little you allow your kid to be online, you should have access to their online passwords and usernames.
#2: Check your kid's profiles regularly..and communicate this to them! If your child was hanging out at someone's home or in another neighborhood on a regular basis, you'd check out the environment. It's no different online. As parents, we should consistently check our child's online activity and profiles. But be sure you communicate to your child that you'll be doing this. You don't have to tell them when you'll do it, but communicating to your child that you will be checking from time to time does two things: First of all, it helps them have accountability to you on the front-end. Secondly, it allows you to build trust because you're not spying on them if you've already communicated you'll be checking in on them.
#3: Set time limits & "hours of operation" for online activity and social media usage. As a family, set standards for how long per day your kids can be online and what hours of the day you expect for their social media activity to be "closed." Remember to include phone usage into these limits, since much of social media is done through smartphone apps.
#4: Keep your computer in public places. One of the best ways you can help your children stay accountable in their online activity and relationships is to be sure that you keep all computers in your home in public places, like the living room, family room, or office. The accountability that this provides helps your kids avoid visiting questionable sites and engaging in dangerous relationships.