Monitoring Our Kids’ Social Media Activity
By Naomi Broderick
In today’s world, social media is the new norm. Everyone is linked to one another in a growing network of connectivity and sharing. While it’s surely a positive evolution for the globe, the transition does lend itself to potential consequences. One specific one is the influence that social media can have on young children across America.
Parents from all walks of life struggle to balance their children’s development with the societal transition to online activity. There’s a fine line between appropriate and unsafe social media use when it comes to the youth of our world. This article focuses on children aged 11-17, as the range includes the point when children generally become active online and also when they transition to adulthood. Parents have an inherent obligation to monitor and control Internet use for the benefit of everyone involved.
Below I list the specific ways that parents can realistically monitor activity, with the end goal being the safety of their children.
1. Regulate time spent online
Like anything else in life, the more exposure someone has to something, the more possibilities there are. The same goes for children and Internet use. If a child is allowed to roam the Internet endlessly when they aren’t at school, they’re bound to run into information that could be detrimental to their health and safety. Time is opportunity, and it’s best to limit time spent on the Internet. The particular amount of time should be determined by both the child’s age and the parent’s gut feeling.
If you have children: The amount of unsafe information and activity within the boundaries of the World Wide Web is far more than we think. The more focused and condensed a child’s Internet activity, the better chance they have of avoiding risky material. Consider having an allotted amount of minutes per day that your child can be online. Setting up a system where your child isn’t surfing the net before bed is something to consider as well.
2. Have access to passwords and information
Social media platforms require both information and a secure password. If a child uses these applications and the Internet in general, it’s important that parents have access to information that would normally be “confidential.” Today’s Internet is potentially too dangerous for minors to withhold information from their parents.
If you have children: Passwords and account information can help you better evaluate your child’s Internet footprint. What your children tell you and what you see isn’t always the whole story, and, given the enormity of the Internet, it’s imperative to have open access to any online activity. Up to a certain age, you need to have your children’s login information to really find out what’s going on.
3. Notice habit or attitude changes
Another specific way for parents to better monitor their children’s Internet presence is to focus closely on attitude and behavioral changes. If children are exposed to violent or troubling online situations, they will usually make it known through their behavior. Whether they do so explicitly varies by situation, but parents who know their children well can quickly assess if any change has occurred.
If you have children: The rise of the Internet is just another excuse for you to really zero in on your child’s behavior and attitude. If you notice any habits that seem questionable, like your son or daughter always wanting to be online late at night, it’s critical to take note and make an actionable move. It’s a case of better safe than sorry, and it’s every parent’s goal to be aware of a situation before it becomes a legitimately concerning issue.
The Internet has made many things around the globe much more efficient. The World Wide Web has created possibilities that the human race never imagined before now, but this progress comes at a price. Our children are vulnerable. If you are a parent, understand this and take all the necessary steps required to make sure your child is being safe online. After all, it’s not always up to them.
Naomi Broderick is a professional writer who’s secure in her abilities and even more confident in her parenting. When she’s not juggling her three children in the front yard she writes for ProtectYourHome.com, a leader in home alarms.