Social Media and Social Networking

Not all social media plafforms are the same. They have different purposes, age limits, security, types of sharing and interacting. They also have different levels of security and in some cases consider any data you upload to be theirs, not yours.

Here are some points to consider before your children start using social media.

Which Social Media Site is Best?

Do some research into the social media sites your children want to join to see if they are appropriate. Find out what it is, what type of information is shared, what is the age range of users on the site? Are there any benefits to joining? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it and you can always join the site first to see if it is appropriate.

What type of Privacy is there?

Get to know the privacy settings for the site before you decide to join. Some sites have more comprehensive privacy settings than others. The privacy settings should control what you can share but also who can see you and what you can see. If you can’t get this level of privacy then consider not signing up. Read the privacy policy before you sign up.

What is the Age Limit?

Does the site your children want to use have an age limit? Facebook has an age limit of l3yrs and over. If a site has an age limit it would be wise to stick to it, as the information on the site may not be suitable for anyone under the age specified. Consider your child’s maturity. Even if they are the right age, should theyjoin? If the site doesn’t have an age limit, consider the points raised above.

What type of Information is being Shared?

Consider the content that is shared on the site and how easy it is for others to find your information and share it. Some sites are focused on sharing of images, others are text and images, others are music or video, the list goes on. If the content is not appropriate or sharing is all too easy and you can’t restrict it, do not sign up.

Protecting Your Children

It is important forchildren to understand how vital it is that they do not share any of their private information with people they do not know. There are no guarantees the person behind the online username is who they say they are. Be SMART.

Safe- don’t share personal information

Meeting – never meet someone you don’t know

Accepting – do not accept emails or contact from unknown sources Reliable-someone online may be lying about who they are.

Tell- always tell an adult or parent if you feel unsafe or worried.

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