Saturday, June 5, 2010

How Social Media Savvy Are You?*

When it comes to children’s Internet safety, most parents are not savvy enough. And it is not because we aren’t hip, hep, cool, phat…choose your jargon…it’s simply that new social web sites seems to appear with the blink of an eye.

What can you do to protect your child without infringing too much on his or her perceived rights? It’s as simple as A B C: Ask, Believe, then Check.

Ask your child about the social media sites they belong to. Ask how often they visit the site. Ask what personal information they post. Ask about their Internet friends.

Believe that your child is telling you the truth. Believe that your child is careful. Believe that your child knows the dangers of Internet predators. Then….

Check your child’s postings. Friend them on Facebook; follow them on Twitter; join their MySpace page. And remember due diligence: new social media sites pop up almost daily, so you must stay on top of this. is an excellent resource web site.

Most importantly, talk with your child regularly about Internet safety (without being too much of a nudge so they won’t tune you out). Points to reiterate when conversing:
  • Safety is first and foremost. Remind them to never post personal information such as full name, home address, phone numbers, places they go … anything that would help someone identify them or locate their whereabouts when they are not at home.
  • Remind them that whatever is posted is there for all the world to see….and sometimes long after it is has been deleted too.
  • And remind them it is never right to cyberbully. And if someone is cyberbullying them, that it is okay and safe to tell you about it.
Be savvy; keep kids safe.

Have a joyful day everyone. - Rita
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*Written for Reprinted with permission.

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