Social Media for the Parentally-Minded

Aug 14, 2012

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As the makers of the leading parental control software Net Nanny, everything we do is intended to help parents protect their children online. As such, we work to provide as much valuable information as possible to keep you in the know and in control of your child's online habits.

Generally, parents understand that the Internet and social media play a big part in their child's life. But is the magnitude of social media's influence truly understood and addressed by parents?

American teens asked to comment on social networking have said they aren't sure if parents understand how much it affects a teen's self-image and confidence, that friendships are really affected by social networking, and that sometimes they don't feel in control.

Things to be aware of when dealing with social media include cyberbullying, sexting, and third-party influences such as advertising and child predators.

Since most parents choose not to ban their teens from social media, here are some tips for keeping social media's influence a positive one. (Source: Dr. Lisa N C Franklin-Banton, president of the Paediatric Association of Jamaica)

  1. Start young. Simple discussions about the appropriate use of technology need to begin early.
  2. Don't get left behind. Get on Facebook and make sure your children are your 'friends'.
  3. Supervise all online activities. If you can't, get an expert to block adult content.
  4. Look for warning signs. Spending all day texting or on the computer should raise suspicion.
  5. Encourage positive usage and interactions (group homework, idea sharing).
  6. Create positive distractions. Recommend sites with interesting online activities.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.