5 things you should do before your kids join social media sites
Do your research — Get to know the social media sites that your kids are using. Set up an account, cruise around the site, and educate yourself on what each offers and how kids are using it. Be familiar with sites' age restrictions and know that kids can easily get around them.
Communicate with Your Child — Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Having an open dialogue will make your child more likely to come to you if he is being cyberbullied or harassed online.
Set Rules and Limits — Sit down with your child and determine which sites are appropriate to visit, including social media and gaming sites, and set limits on what can be communicated and shared on each one. Consider having access to any accounts your child has set up in her name.
Beware of Overshare — Remind your child that once something goes on the Internet, it can stay there forever. Common Sense Media offers a good tip: if it's something you wouldn't want posted on the hallways at school, don't post it online or send it in a text. This includes anything involving drugs, alcohol, nudity, and sexting.
Set the Privacy Settings Together — Without proper privacy settings in place, millions of people have access to any photos and information your child posts. Additionally, some sites (like Facebook) allow a user's location to be posted. Since many Facebook users have hundreds (even thousands) of friends, the number of people who can find information on your child's account can be staggering.
For more information, visit www.familyeducation.com.