Parents must monitor children’s cellphones

2016-02-04 06:00

ACCORDING to a recent study carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) it was found that although there are real benefits to children using sites such as Facebook, including increased communication, access to information and help in developing a sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing too.

Social networking is on the rise with some children logging in to social networks more than 10 times a day. This level of engagement online increases the risk of cyberbullying, “Facebook depression” (a new phenomenon where “de-friending” and online bullying lead to symptoms of depression), exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting.

Just as children are prepped for life in the real world, parents should prepare them for life in the online world. Tips every parent should keep in mind.

No underage Facebook

Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook. However, there is no real way for Facebook to enforce it because anyone can lie about their year of birth.

Check privacy settings

Check that your privacy settings for the internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels. There are software suites you can buy to monitor your child’s internet usage such as Net Nanny and PureSight PC.

Create ground rules

If your children are old enough to be using the computer on their own, they are old enough to understand that there are rules they need to abide by.

Get to know what your child’s habits are

You don’t need to be a super sleuth and spy on your child’s every online move, but it is important to be aware of the kinds of sites he or she is frequenting and the people they are associating with. One of the contract rules should be that you have full access to their Facebook friends and can take a look whenever you wish.

Keep the computer in a central location

It’s easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone rather than if your child is using a computer in the privacy of their room. Place the computer in a central location like your kitchen or family room so that everything is out in the open.

Be a good example of how to use social media

If you are tweeting and updating your Facebook page at a traffic light and taking every opportunity to “just check something,” you’re setting a poor precedent for social media usage that your child will surely follow.

Limit cellphone use

Set rules for the device by only allowing cellphone usage at certain hours in the evening or after homework has been completed.

Teach children about an online reputation

Make sure to stress to your children what a digital footprint is and the impact inappropriate messages or images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to stumble upon them. - www.parenting.com

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