Social Media Safety: 5 Quick Tips for Parents

First published here on the After School Blog

In the After School Social Change with Technology Interview Series, we interviewed online safety and technology expert Larry Magid, who is also the CEO of ConnectSafely. From the full interview, which you can listen to on After School’s YouTube Channel, here are five quick tips to help build and maintain a healthy relationship with your teen when it comes to understanding their use of social media.

  • Have ongoing conversations

Helping your teen have a healthy relationship with technology is only possible through having an open and honest line of communication with your child. Ask them what apps they use, what they think you should use, and what their favorite aspects of each are. By talking to them about your technology use, they are more likely to share what they’re up to, ask you questions, and even help you become more familiar with social networks that you may benefit from.

  • Be familiar with the apps they’re using

ConnectSafely publishes news updates and parent’s guides for many of the most popular social networks. In addition to having conversations with your children about social media and watching the news, do your research and learn about the benefits and risks of each social network they’re using. View ConnectSafely’s guides here.

  • Follow their public postings and profiles

If your child has public profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and others, it’s okay to follow or friend them, though it may be worth having a conversation with them first. It’s important to build trust with them while staying aware of their online activity.

  • “Don’t stalk your kids online”

Trying to be deceptive or controlling when educating your child on responsible social media use can put a barrier between you and your child. Magid advises, “don’t stalk your kids online,” instead, talk with them and look for warning signs BEFORE becoming concerned about their use of social media. “You need to treat them with a certain amount of respect, until or unless they give you reason not to,” says Magid.

  • Don’t constantly post on their profiles (even if positive)

For your children, social media plays a much different role in their lives. “It’s an extension of their personal social lives,” says Magid. Keep posts and comments on their profile to a minimum, especially if you haven’t discussed social media with them. It may not seem like a big deal, but their online profiles represent a significant part of their lives and what you post may be interpreted differently by them and others they are connected with.

Read more from the After School Social Change with Technology Interview Series here: