Social Media Tips for Teens – Tips to help teens and pre-teens safely navigate their first years of social media written for Oakland County Moms courtesy of Tiffany Dziurman Stozicki. Originally posted in July of 2009. These Social Media Tips for Teens are as relevant now as they were then!
Online social networking and social media presents many challenges for parents. It’s a great topic for a parenting manual – if only we had one. Well, it turns out we do. The smart folks at wiredmoms.org (or wiredsafety.org) have just the manual, with tips and advice on how to protect your children who use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (and MANY more). Lucky for us, the advice is not challenging either. Turns out the rules our parents and teachers taught us work just as well for this new world we live in.
For Social Media Tips for Teens… Download the Online Parenting Handbook from wiredsafety.org today. Visit www.wiredsafety.org/resources/pdf/parentingonline.pdf for the complete handbook. What follows are the site’s seven familiar rules for online social networking. Come to think of it, these rules are not just for teenagers, but all of us who have online profiles. In fact, most users of Facebook are women over the age of 45.
Social Media Tips for Teens
1. Don’t talk to or accept anything from strangers – This is one of the first rules we learn while growing up and the first one we teach our children. It’s hard, however, to spot strangers online. Our kids feel safe with us seated nearby — their “stranger” alerts aren’t functioning in this setting. Unless they know them in real life, the person is a stranger no matter how long they have chatted online. Period. You need to remind them that these people are strangers and that all of the standard stranger rules apply. You also must teach them that anyone can masquerade as anyone else online. The “twelve-year-old” girl they have been talking to may prove to be a forty-five year old man.
2. Come straight home after school – For generations, parents have known that children can get into trouble when they wander around after school. Wandering aimlessly online isn’t any different. Parents need to know their children are safe and doing something productive. Allowing your children to spend unlimited time online, surfing aimlessly, is asking for trouble. Make sure there’s a reason they’re online. If they are just surfing randomly, set a time limit. You want them to come home after they’re done, to human interaction and family activities.
3. Don’t provoke fights – Trying to provoke someone in cyberspace is called “flaming.” It often violates the “terms of service” of your online service provider and will certainly get a reaction from other people online. Flaming matches can be heated, long and extended battles, moving from a chat room or discussion group to e-mail quickly. If your child feels that someone is flaming them, they should tell you and the sysop (system operator, pronounced sis-op) or moderator in charge right away and get offline or surf another area. They shouldn’t try to defend themselves or get involved in retaliation.
4. Don’t take candy from strangers – While we don’t take candy from people online, we do often accept attachments. And just like real candy that might be laced with drugs or poisons, a seemingly innocent attachment can destroy your computer files, pose as you and destroy your friends or spy on you without you even knowing it. Use good anti-virus software, update it often and try one of the new spyware blockers. You can get a list of the ones wiredmoms.org recommends at wiredSafety.org.
6. We need to get to know your friends – Get to know their online friends, just as you would get to know their friends in everyday life. Talk to your children about where they go online and who they talk to.
7. R-E-S-P-E-C-T – We all know the golden rule. We have a special one for cyberspace. Don’t do anything online you wouldn’t do offline. If you teach your child to respect others online and to follow the rules of netiquette they are less likely to be cyber bullied or become involved in online harassment. You can learn more about the ways to combat cyber bullying at www.StopCyberbullying.org or at WiredSafety.org’s cyber stalking and harassment section. Remember that it is just as likely that your child is a cyber bully (sometimes by accident) as a victim of one. Let them know they can trust you not to make matters worse. You have to be the one they come to when bad things happen.
Five Social Media Tips for Teens to Consider
1. If there is a computer in your child’s room, consider moving it to a family-friendly location where a parent can monitor computer time.
2. Purchase and install filtering and blocking software on all of your computers.
3. Teach your children to never meet an online friend offline (in person).
4. Consider searching for your children’s names on Google and set alerts for your child’s contact information. It’s an early warning system for cyber bullying.
5. Check your children’s profiles on Facebook, etc. and check them often.
See related posts below for more social media tips fro teens.