11 February 2020 marks Safer Internet Day. Facebook is about bringing people closer together but they have a very strong focus on safety. Today Facebook South Africa and I share Top Tips for a Safer Social Media experience for your Teens. Technology is a lifeline for parents and an invaluable resource for your children. This mom is intent on learning how to help make a safer internet experience her children.
Irrespective of whether we are seeking parenting advice on Facebook, helping your children do research for school assignments, or sharing
special moments with friends and family, we cannot avoid use of the internet. So instead of fighting it, lets empower ourselves and our children so that we are together for a better internet.
The Pro’s and Cons of the Internet
We often here about the dangers of social media which quiet frankly does exist. The question however is, “Are we doing enough research to know and understand the tools provided to protect our teens?” To get the most from social media, it’s imperative parents and teenagers understand that there are measures in place. There are tools that platforms such as Facebook provide to keep people safe online.
I recently shared information about the launch of AMBER ALERT in South Africa. It is a Facebook tool that can assist in helping children that have gone missing. Click HERE to read more about this incredible initiative that has helped reunite more than 1000 children to their families
“Parents know that technology has numerous benefits, along with some dangers. We are working hard to ensure our platforms offer people a safe and positive experience. We encourage parents to equip their children with the tools they need to safely navigate the online world”.Says Jocelyne Muhutu-Rémy, Facebook’s Strategic Media Partnerships Manager for sub Saharan Africa.
The Facebook Parents Portal
Is there such a thing, I hear many of you ask. Well there is! Facebook parents portal offers useful links, tips and tricks to help parents and their children have a positive experience online. Now we just need to understand and implement.
Safer Internet Day 2020 – Some tips to help you and your children.
Not a reader …. then watch this 10 minute video where I run through the Top 10 Tips for Teens and Safer Internet Usage by clicking HERE. Otherwise, keep reading about Safer Internet Day 2020.
Talk about the pros and cons regarding the internet before children are old enough to have an account. Knowledge is indeed power. By educating and informing our children, we will better equip them to live in an ever changing and advancing cyber-world. Did you know that children need to be 13 years of age before they can use Facebook and/or Instagram? In our case, Skylar (11) doesn’t have a Facebook account and I run his Instagram account. An account he is completely unphased about. He however loves to play Xbox online so we have a heavier monitoring in place for him in this regard. I even get weekly reports to see the amount of time he spends gaming.
Set some internet rules
Establish a set of rules with your children pertaining to the use of the Internet. Instill Internet Safety in our children, especially from an early age so that it becomes a habit. Parents emphasise why they should be careful about what they share online. Why accepting a friend request from a stranger isn’t a good idea.
Learn from your children
Our children are absolutely savvy when it comes to the cyber world. So set aside time to learn from them. Get involved and understand what about the internet peaks their interest. Determine what apps they use and try them out for yourself. Your interest in something they love and enjoy is a great conversation starter. Your children will also love the attention and interest you show about something you possibly complain a lot about. Chat about issues of safety, privacy and security. I’m forever telling the boys that once they put something out on the internet that it will forever be there.
Create critical thinkers
Critical thinking is a key skill for the street-smart Internet user. Chat to your children about how they can recognise scams, click-bait, fake news and phishing attempts on the Internet. The boys actually taught me about click-bait
Lead by Example
As a blogger, entrepreneur, influencer and professional the internet is my friend. As parents, we need to lead by example. Teaching my boys how to use their devices responsibly is vital. Limited time on their cellphones during the school week resulting in phones being switched off an hour before bedtime. This is especially important for Ashton who has been diagnosed with ADHD and insomnia. I try to abide by the same rules and often get reminded that I’m done working for the evening.
Safer Privacy Settings
Teach your teens how to check and manage their privacy settings. Ensure the settings are high. The rule in our home is that I have their passwords to their cellphones and apps. The notification exhaust me but keeping my finger on the pulse 24/7 really helps me, help them. Facebook has privacy settings that help users control who can friend them and who can see their posts.
Instagram offers flexible tools to keep teens safe online, including bullying filtering, pro-active caption warnings and sensitivity screens. Teens can also restrict unwanted interactions on their profiles by easily report accounts, comments and posts for bullying. Instagram has a Safety Center (instagram-together.com), a place where you can easily access all of the safety features Instagram has built so far, connect with support services and see what they are working on next.’
Create a healthy reporting culture. Encourage them to report if they see something they are concerned about. Facebook has developed a set of policies (Community Standards) that define what is and isn’t allowed on its platforms. There is a link on nearly every Facebook and Instagram post where you can anonymously report abuse, bullying, harassment and other issues. Using this feature empowers your teens to take action for their own safety.
Help them create strong passwords for their accounts and explain why they shouldn’t share their passwords with anyone. Except mom and dad off-course. Encourage them to add an extra layer of security by enabling two-factor authentication. This requires an SMS security code when you log in from an unknown device.
We absolutely love capturing family moments with a video or photo and have fun together editing and adding filters. I use every opportunity to chat to the boys about online safety. The boys often bring things of concern to my attention without me asking. I often stress the fact that social media isn’t about chasing numbers. I explain why we shouldn’t be buying followers and likes. Despite being a blogger (where numbers rule) my block list is second to none.
Sharing Isn’t Caring
Not when it comes to online safety that is. Teach your children not to share information such as their address, phone number or full date of birth. This information can make them susceptible to identity fraud or other forms of harassment.
Take the Pledge
Take the pledge, share it on social media using #SaferInternetDay. Together for a Better Internet for our kids.
Please share in the comments what you do to make a safer internet experience for your children. Thanks in advance and I look forward to your savvy parenting tips and tricks.
Disclaimer : This is a paid in partnership collaboration with Facebook South Africa to raise awareness about Safer Internet Day. We hope that the Top 10 Tips will benefit both you and your teens.