Social Media Safety for Kids
Social networking has become part of
the daily routines of both adults and children, providing tools for
children to socialize, learn, create,
and grow. Despite the positive experiences
children can have through social media , the information which is shared
can make children vulnerable to identity theft, cyberbullying, malware
and virus attacks, and internet predators.
“Facebook and other social networks
aren’t going away anytime soon”, said
Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central East
Texas. “The better parents
understand this and stay ahead of the curve, the better they’ll be
able to help their kids understand it as well.”
BBB provides the following tips to help
ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
- Communicate. Encourage
your children to make you aware if something they encounter on one of
these sites makes them feel anxious, uncomfortable or threatened.
the ground rules. Provide children with limits regarding length
of time they can be on the internet and which sites are and are not
- Educate yourself. Evaluate
the sites that your child plans to use and make sure both you and your
if the site monitors content that people post. Also, review your child's
- Minimize the risk.
Insist that your children communicate only with people they've met in
person. Check their friends and ask questions. Children are in real
danger when they meet strangers in person whom they've communicated
with online only.
- Limit information.
Posting too much information can make your children vulnerable. Set
your child’s privacy settings to “private” or “friends only”,
and restrict them from posting information such as their last name,
cell phone number, date of birth, and name of school.
- Be mindful about detail
in photographs. Photographs can reveal a lot of personal information.
Encourage your children not to post photographs of themselves or their
friends with clearly identifiable details such as street signs, license
plates on family cars, or even the name of their school on their sweatshirts.
- Make it public. Keep
the computer in a public part of your home, such as the family room
or kitchen, so that you can check on what your kids are doing and how
much time they are spending online.
- Take it down. If your
children refuse to abide by the rules you've set to help protect their
safety and you've attempted to help them change their behavior, you
can contact the social website your child uses and ask them to remove
Keep in mind there are many internet
filtering tools and applications that are available to complement parental
supervision and help young people navigate the web in an effective and
safe manner while ensuring their future success in a tech-savvy and
highly connected world.
For more information on how to be a savvy
consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: