face it, social networks are an amazing resource especially when it comes to
keeping in contact with distant friends and family but let's not be blinded to
the potential dangers that these social media outlets can cause.Everyone has heard of Facebook, but today’s youth are staying interactive with
a variety of social media sites. Below is a list of some of the most popular
social media sites among teens:
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Google+, Vine, Wanelo, Kik Messenger, Ooovoo, Ask.fm, Yik Yak, WhatsApp, Omegle, Yo., Whisper
you heard of most of these?
Kapor, a pioneer in the personal computing industry says, "Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant."
We could spend all day going
into detail about the functionality of each one of these social media sites but let’s focus on the important factor:
How do we keep youth
With all of this information
(both good and bad) at their fingertips it can be overwhelming and dangerous if
not managed well. Below are a few everyday tips
you can use to help protect yourself and your family from harm while using
- Almost every app or web browser has
something called "Privacy & Security Settings". These settings
can help you control who can view your posts, pictures, videos while allowing
you to manage your social media in a healthy way!
- Talk to your youth about protecting their
reputation while using social media. The things you post online stay
online; think before you post. Would you want family and future employers
seeing the post? A recent study found that 70% of job recruiters rejected
candidates based on information they found online!
- Social Media is not all bad if used
properly. Another study also found
that recruiters responded quickly to people who demonstrated a
strong, positive personality online! Social media can be used as a
tool to show others your smarts, thoughtfulness and skills.
- Keep your personal information personal. The
more personal information you post, the easier it can be for a hacker to
use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit
other serious crimes. Make sure your youth understands the boundaries of
We should start speaking to our
youth about online safety at an early age.
Our youth spend an average of 12 hours every week on the
internet...12 hours! Don’t get
overwhelmed – there’s no need to try and cover everything in one conversation.
Technology changes every day and yes, you’ll need to stay current but try having small conversations every week to let your child know you're
interested in their interests.
If you want to know what your
child is doing online, ask!
- Which websites do you enjoy spending time
- What are the best things to do on these
- Which websites would you recommend for a
- What is your favorite game?
- Who do you play games with?
Chances are that your child knows
more than you do about being online but you can use that to your
advantage. Here are some great ways to get child involved:
- Let your child teach you how
to use social media sites and games. Not only does this allow you and
your kids to spend quality time together, but it can also allow you to see what
privacy settings to put in place.
- Have your child help you set
up a profile on one of their favorite sites. This gives you the opportunity to
ask questions like "What does this mean?" or "Why did you choose
- If your child is an avid
gamer, have them teach you how to play and play together! This will give you great insight
on what the game is like and allow you to see if the game is age appropriate.
Technology will continue to
advance at a rapid rate, so rather than be afraid, be informed!