Social media sites can be a fun pastime for just about anyone. In reality, there is also a dark side where children are often victimized by cyber-bullies or other predators. However, you can learn how to keep your children from being victimized on social sites. It is possible to reduce the chances of your children being victimized; without unplugging the Internet connection.
Instead of hiding from the online world, which makes up a great portion of communication in society today, teach your children how to master the experience.
Be Friends on Social Sites
Always have your children in your “friends” list on various social networks. This will allow you to view material he or she is posting as well as see others that are publicly sent. This can give you a shorter response time to situations that are developing or those that are about to develop. If more parents spent time reading what children are posting and acting on that information, there could be less teen traumatic episodes. Like in the case of Amanda Todd, she shared a video on Youtube of how depressed she felt as a result of being cyber-bullied. She also reportedly shared a video with her mother which had not been viewed yet. The advise is to be friends with your children (and their friends) on social sites so you can see what they are sharing.
Learn to Ignore the Trolls
Many social networking sites are incorporating methods to ignore those that are simply looking for a verbal fight. However, it is still a good idea to teach your children to protect themselves. Cyber-bullies target individuals for no other reason than because it makes the bully feel better about themselves. Help your child to understand the sadness of these individuals and not to get sucked into the drama. If the system the child uses has a “report user” function, then he or she should report. Otherwise, your child needs to understand that interacting with these individuals only gives them what they want – a reaction.
Sharing too much information can be very bad for anyone especially children. Even if the “friend” is someone they know in real life, children should never discuss personal matters over the Internet. Teach your children that information that is posted on the Internet, stays there forever. Even if you delete the comment as fast as you posted it, anyone can still “screen-grab” an image of the comment in order to show it in other places.
Consequences os Sharing too much
Many teens will use social sites to vent frustrations in the manner of poems or journal entry type of post. While this could be therapeutic in the right context and media, it could easily open the doors for cyber-bullies to pick apart a heart-felt message. Your children need to understand that using social media to share emotions leaves it open to interpretations and possible misunderstandings. They should always have a trusted adult to share their feelings with.
One problem that many parents have when dealing with the effects of children and social media is procrastination. Instead of dealing with a developing situation, many parents tend to sit back and see how it unfolds. However, this can be dangerous as the damage might already be done. Whenever any negative effects are noticed; parents should take immediate action to reduce the overall damage that could be done to your child.
Many people, including children, take social media sites for granted. It is an easy medium that provides a false sense of anonymity. Without an interpersonal interaction, it is quite easy to say anything that is on your mind. Unfortunately, there are many things that shouldn’t be blurted out in a social setting. Make sure your children know the difference and how to respect the power of social media sites.
Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.
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