Almost all children in the industrial world have a digital footprint. One statistic I read said that in 2010, 92% of toddlers had an online presence, so I can only imagine what that number is today. The kids born nowadays most likely won’t have a chance to make decisions about their own online privacy since they’ll already have an Internet presence before they’re old enough to make that decision. Some kids get social media accounts at an early age too. It’s important to keep children safe online.
I have some personal experience with this. My own son got a Twitter account when he was 9 years old (@toad_mario). There was a time when he was tweeting every day, and he had over 1,500 followers. I was happy when he got bored with it and got back into sports, but even today, he is very active on YouTube. I know firsthand how challenging it can be to want to encourage children to experience technology, but at the same time, keep children safe from online dangers.
Most experts say it’s important to talk to children about the dangers that can be lurking online. In order to keep children safe, we have to keep children informed. It’s a regular topic of conversation in my house, and I sometimes hear my son (who is now 12) on the phone educating his friends about it.
As a parent, there are other things you can do besides talking to your children about online dangers. You can also use a service like OpenDNS, or one of the other many services like that, which will block certain websites from your child’s computer. You can also do some other not so obvious things like what this article on Forbes suggests. It’s called 9 Tips For Managing Your Child’s Social Media Presence.
This infographic is also useful, and it’s a great resource to help keep children safe in social media. It’s called 5 Golden Rules, and it’s by British Council. Pam Moore also wrote a great corresponding blog post to this called 5 Golden Rules To Keep Children Safe On Social Media.
My personal opinion about it is that there’s a balance. You don’t want your children to sense your fear for their safety because then they may lose interest in technology. At the same time, you don’t want to expose them to things they shouldn’t have to deal with at a young age. By making online safety a priority, it is possible to keep children safe while they explore technology.
5 Ways To Help Keep Children Safe In Social Media
(Click Infographic To Enlarge)
Via: [Social Media Today] Header Image Credit: [UNB Law & Technology]