This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see my disclosure policies for full details.
Keeping your kids and teens safe on social media can seem like a tough job. But there are actually some simple things you can do to help. Check out these simple social media safety tips for kids and teens.
Not that being a mom is already difficult, let’s just add the stress of social media to the mix. Many parents I know and those I polled on our Facebook page said that they won’t even allow their kids to have social media accounts. In all honesty that is the very best choice but we know that life happens and things that we said we would never do, get done. So if keeping your kids and teens off social media isn’t an option then let’s try to keep them as safe as possible using these simple social media safety tips.
Talk to Them About Rules and Trust
In this case, a little goes a long way. You can keep your kids safe on social media by talking to them and letting them know you trust them. Discuss general safety rules for social media that apply to anyone who uses it. Also, discuss bullying, as well as trust. It means a great deal to most kids that their parents can trust them. They look up to you. It helps them to know that you trust they will follow safety rules, as well as their rules.
Set-Up Rules and Expectations From the Beginning
Even though you have discussed the rules and trust is might be a good idea to put it down in writing. Most kids access social media from a mobile device. Once you have decided to give your child a phone or tablet you may want to also introduce a contract to them. This is an agreement between you and your child regarding the rules of use. Here is a sample cell phone contract that you can either use as written or use it to inspire your own contract. Setting up expectations from the beginning allows there to be an understanding of both the expectations and consequences for not following through.
Only Access Social Media Only on a Laptop or Desktop
Keeping social media accounts off your kid’s phone is one way to help set safe limitations. Think about setting the rule that they can only access social media from a laptop or desktop. This way you can monitor the use more closely. Sometimes, when those accounts are installed on a phone, it can encourage unhealthy habits, such as checking the accounts more and paying attention to outside life less. A big part of keeping your teen safe on social media involves limitations and requiring them to access the accounts from a laptop or desktop is one way to set those limitations.
Be Sure Your Teen Has Enough to Do
When your kid has extracurricular activities and a healthy social life, social media accounts will hold less influence. Be sure your teen has enough to do, as well as friends to interact with outside of social media. While social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, you don’t want it to become your teen’s life. Things like joining after school clubs, sports teams, and recreational centers can help give your teen something to do. An afterschool job or volunteer position may also be of use.
Set Boundaries on Login Times
Be sure your kids know safe times to log in to social media and safe times to stay away. For instance, late at night is a more vulnerable time for your teen or times when he or she is alone. During school is also not a good time to log in as classwork is more important. Not logging in during school also helps avoid some bullying situations. Your teen should only be logging in when a parent or other safety net is around, in case there are any issues. Some parents take their kid’s phone at night and return it in the morning. This is one way to help keep them off social media during the absolute worst time.
What you think matters more to your teen than you may realize. These healthy habits can help keep your teen safe when using social media accounts.