The days of kids communicating through the house phone are in the past.  A large majority of pre-adolescents own their own cell phones and are typically pretty attached to them.  A parent in the digital age has added responsibilities in monitoring and educating their children about kids and social media usage.  It’s important that you board the social media train.  You can’t afford to be left behind.

Kids and Social Media: Beyond the Screen

Social media isn’t limited to what your child views on the screen – content can affect emotions and behavior.  The proliferation of social media has raised the stakes for parents seeking to steer kids in the right direction.  Bullying is not only taking place on the playground, it’s online and can come from anyone, anywhere in the world. Is my child being bullied?  Why the behavior changes?  Has an inappropriate picture of them been posted on social media – and now they can’t sleep?  Or are other parents angry at me because our child is the aggressor? The questions don’t stop here.  What is the right way to approach to a child’s privacy?  And where should you draw the line between appropriate parental oversight and unnecessary parental intrusion?

Privacy vs. Intrusion

Respecting your child’s privacy is an important priority – and, unlike the assumptions many parents make – you can still do so while looking at your child’s social media profiles. A good place to start is to check your child’s privacy settings on their social media profiles.  Explain to them the importance of the settings and what harm can be done when they aren’t set in place.  Lead by example; take the time to evaluate your own privacy settings on your profiles.  Keep in mind that when pictures and information are sent to someone with public privacy settings, that information becomes viewable.

Protecting Your Location

If you’re wealthy and prominent, chances are you’re cautious about revealing your travel plans and logistics.  But have you also taken into consideration the things your children are sharing publicly through social media which might be poking dangerous holes in that layer of protection?   In one case, we found pictures posted by a family’s youngest son of $100,000 worth of his family’s jewelry spread out on a bed in a Paris hotel room.  Many social media sites embed location coding within a post, making it even easier for Internet users to find where the picture was taken.  Imagine what a criminal would do if they knew that large amounts of cash and jewelry are ripe for the taking from a 16-year-old. Across the United States and the globe, people from pre-adolescents to predators are looking out –and into – windows on your child’s world.  So if anyone on the planet can view it, as a parent, you might as well take a look too.

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