Social Media for Kids
Social Media - any online application that has a interactive element: Facebook, YouTube, Blogspot, etc.
How Things have Changed!
It's amazing how quickly Technology trends change! It was only about a year ago that I was trying to convince parents to get on Facebook to help keep track of their kids. Facebook Privacy Posts, Social Networking posts.
Social Media Facebook Exodus
Once all of the parents and friends' parents have made it to Facebook I have seen a drastic decline of Facebook usage from kids and teenagers. Possibly they unfriended me, but my instinct tells me that most kids have entered into different social applications. They may still have an account and occasionally get tagged in a photo, but the majority of their online interaction must be through a different social media application.
Popular Alternatives to Facebook
Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, dating sites .. and the list goes on and on. There are many alternatives to the traditional Facebook page. (Snap Chat is more like a messaging application. I have written a separate post explaining SnapChat). There are many other social media applications not listed.
Games can be Social
Many of the popular interactive games can be social with a separate chat session: Drawsome, Wordswithfriends, Domino, and many more have the ability for players to have a separate chat session.
What should I do?
1. Figure out where you kids are.
We should be discussing Internet usage on a regular basis. If your kids Facebook page is a little stale, you might want to talk to them and ask them if they have joined any other social media sites. If you don't think they will be forthcoming, you can always check their iTouch, cell phone or Internet history to see if they have joined other sites.
2. Review Internet Safety Habits.
Strangers – Kids and teenagers should not be interacting online with strangers. Some social media sites are designed for a 'public' atmosphere (Twitter) and may not be the best place for kids and teenagers.
Inappropriate Pictures – An online profile for a kid or teenager will follow them for the rest of their life during college admissions and job interviews. Teach them to 'Think before they post.”
Private Information – Kids should not be posting their birthday, address, or even location information. They may have inadvertently signed up for a 'public' account and will be divulging lots of personal information to strangers.
3. Review Account and Privacy Settings
Once you have identified the application and sites that your child is signed up, review the account for personal information. Remove all personal information that is not required. Work with your child to set up appropriate privacy settings. You can have private Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. You just have get into the application and make the required changes to the accounts.
Review the account to see who your child has listed as contacts and friends. Make sure you and your child know all of the 'friends' on the list.
Review the games that may have a social element. Review the list of friends and review any personal information that may be associated with the account.
Many of these games want you to sign up for an account through Facebook. Review the Facebook settings for this application. If you are not comfortable with the application accessing Facebook information, have your child sign up for just a standard account.
I don't think the social media sites are 'BAD,' however, it is important to stay involved in our kids' lives as much as we possibly can. Keep Internet Safety discussion going! Make sure you are both on the same team!