Social networking sites and kids online Safety measures
- Do you have Kids (Teens) who are on Social Networks?
- Does it bother you when you don’t know what they are doing online?
Thanks to few of our Blog readers who dropped us mails asking, if we could share an article with few pointers on Online safety for kids accessing social network sites.
Few of the most common concerns that we found across the mails received from parents were:
- I have tried blocking his computer or Locking it, but still he manages to log in
- We have told both our kids (both in their early teens) not to access social networking etc but they just don’t seem to listen
- We even tried buying parental control software, but he still manages to get in
- I don’t have a social site login myself. How do I control my kid who is logging into these sites
- My daughters friends post each other school pictures on social sites. I am worried. She refuses to stop using social sites.
- My Teenage kid has started chatting with strangers who are his friends on social sites
- I don’t have time to keep track on them, but really want to make sure they are safe online
- My kid installs softwares suggested by his online friends (unknown strangers)
Please note: The points below are just our views and we are not promoting any sites through this post or neither are we assuring of the sites listed: We would love for you to make that decision after going through the sites yourself: Read through:
What we can possibly suggest are few simple ways in which you can try and make sure they are safe, if they are online. Hope they are helpful.
To begin with:
- Never say Never - Never tell your Kid “Don’t Do it” In majority of the cases, it only aggravates the need for the kid to Join in with the ‘cool stuff’ online. Help them realize your concerns of them being online and find out which sites they are keen on visiting. Also, try to find out who is influencing them to come online. This helps you keep them safe and secure, if you know who has suggested them to be online.
- Be a part of it if it cannot be avoided: You register them and keep track of whom they add. Explain to them, they can add only real family and friends.Make sure the family or friends if possible are their on your profile to as contacts. Helps you to clarify if the contacts are real of fake.
- Someones always listening: Make sure you tell your kids, to use appropriate language online, just like they would when you have guests at home. It makes it easier for them to understand.
Now for some websites that you might find resourceful:
Following are some kid related social sites, that you might find interesting for your teens. Have a look:
The giantHello website was designed for tweens (7 to 13 year-olds) who have outgrown the “kiddish” sites, but are not old enough to sign up for Facebook or MySpace
As a father of three tweens, Cannistraro was bothered that there was no safe and secure online social networking option for kids. He felt that today’s youth would benefit from being prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the digital world. Within a few months, he set out to create the very site his children and kids everywhere could safely enjoy.
Togetherville provides kid-safe communication, privacy controls, and a parent-managed friend list through Facebook
Skillshare is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone.
Few other Kids related website that might find interesting:
As for the Queries shared from your end, we will share our views on the same:
Kids always learn really fast. So blocking the computer access might only give your kid to find out more unwanted sites or ways to get access of it. Instead, create a separate user on Your computer (Control Panel – Parental Controls) This is a much better option comparatively.
They want to be online because their friends are online. If they are anyway going to be a part of it, one of the most basic things that you need to take care of is:
- Make sure they write only their first name and not their full name (No address, phone numbers, open email ids etc) Make use of social sites privacy features and restrict access of visibility to public
- Either no profile picture or just a small id picture of theirs, make sure that you are also added on their profile, you are accessing your profiles regularly too
- Make sure they understand why they should not add “friends of friends” or strangers or share any of their personal likes or Routine information on any open platform. If they need to tell their friends, they are going out for dinner or meeting at XYZ place for a ball game, they call their friends and do it and not online.
- Parental control software’s are good, but like we mentioned earlier, they always find a way out of things. So you could probably try what we talked about above.
- If you are not online and your kids are, You need to get there. You can ask your kids to help you learn internet, computer and eventually social sites. It will make them feel you are comfortable and at the same time, you will also learn.
- Social sites are a frenzy with everyone because they can share personal and private stuff of happy and sad moments with each other. To start with, make sure your kids and their friends are made aware of the social sites privacy settings. Some sites allow (Customized – Who can see these pictures options) Make use of it. Also, you can ask your kids to at least uncheck options which say “Let others check me in here, tag me, everyone can see me and my posts, etc” You can also encourage them to use Picasa like album up-loaders which gives options to send albums to each other only via email and with restricted public access.
- Chatting with strangers is the biggest concern with majority of the parents today. Help your kid understand, that no matter what, even if the names or pictures of the person they are chatting with seem to be familiar, “Not to” share any personal information, email phone, address or daily plan or likes dislikes. Also, talk and explain to them, that if someone asks, they need to first come and ask you or show you the profile of the person requesting such information.
- If you don’t have the time, you need to make time. Use kids safe social sites, read for more information here http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm
– Kids installing software suggested by their friends online, chat buddies, etc is again a major concerned shared by parents. Now if they have logged into your computer using Parental controlled user profile created by you as shared above, they wont be allowed to install third-party software. Also another concern is kids clicking on Ads on Social Sites installing cookies or malware on your machine. This needs to be explained to them, not in a way that would scare them, but telling them, about the threat it could pose to the computer. That they might not end up waiting to risk.
You know the best for your kids than anyone else:
But make sure:
- They don’t share too many of their pictures online
- They don’t discuss about their school, daily activities or favorite daily hang out places
- They don’t share their contact address, school names, phone numbers or email address
- They don’t let themselves be tagged by their friends to random places
Idea is to educate yourself and in the process Guide them. Remember, they want to be part of the amazing social sites, not just to be cool, but to make friends too. Be their friend, connect with them and tell them what’s really cool and whats not.
Social sites if properly utilized are a great way to be in touch with friends, relatives and peers. It gives wonderful options and opportunities to learn and grow. Explore new things quickly while having fun.
Have a safe and great connect online.
And yes, Our Design Team even whipped up a cute & cool FREE creative “SAFETY TIPS While ONLINE” poster that you might want to take a printout of and put it on your kids room!
Here it is:
Share your views and comments on this article. Would love to hear from you.
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