Snapchat, Selfies, and Safety: Oh My!

girl-on-cell-phoneIn this age, where likes and shares online are a form of social currency, it can be overwhelming for parents to know where and how to set limits on their children’s internet usage. What makes it especially difficult is the fact that most teens and tweens use their phones to go online, and they do it in the blink of an eye. But, not to worry, we are here to share some tips on how to keep your children safe in the digital world.

Rule Number One Of Internet Club: Everything That You Share Online Is Public!

It’s important for parents to teach this truth to their kids, who may naively assume that privacy controls are all that they need to keep their content protected. Sure, it is helpful to use privacy settings, but there is always the possibility that someone who is allowed access could take a screenshot of what he sees, thus rendering the privacy settings inadequate.

If you are wondering what a privacy setting is, consider “hiring,” a young adult to help you learn the ways of the world wide web. This person will probably accept slices of pizza as payment, and will be an extremely valuable guide into this new domain.

As a parent, it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of where your children spend time online. Oh, for the days when you could find them hanging out in a mall food court! New apps, and sites pop up almost daily, but, for now, here are a few that you will want to know about.

Facebook
This social sharing site is considered the favorite among teens and tweens. According to research in Pew, 74% of teens surveyed use Facebook as a means of social communication.

Instagram
A favorite of 16 year olds, this photo-sharing platform has become very popular. Here are some safety tips that are particular to this site.

Snapchat
This is a site where users share photos with a time-limit, the idea being that embarrassing shots can be uploaded without the risk of them being in the cloud forever. But, as we said before, screen shots, (ask your pizza-paid consultant if you don’t know what these are), throw wrenches all over this plan. BurnNote, Whisper, and YikYak are new applications that also use this time-sensitive destruction idea, but these are less well-known. At least for today.

So, what’s a parent to do with all of this information?

Talk to your kids about online safety! Remember that where your children go online is just as important as where they go in the real world. Tell them about online stranger danger, just as you would if they were meeting someone new in real life. And, as always, remember to have compassion for where your teen is coming from. Social interactions literally are her whole world right now. Just make sure that she is experiencing some face to face time as well. (Not to be confused with face-time).

If you’d like to talk more about how to keep your kids safe online, contact us. We are here to help.

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