The growth of social media shows no signs of slowing down. Just the opposite, actually. With apps like Facebook Messenger for Kids, it's becoming obvious that social media companies are after the next generation of users. They want to reel them in early, and get them hooked, or so it seems. Social media can be amazing, but it can also be a scary place for kids and teens. And for parents as well, as we consider what we share about our kids online. When it comes to using social media, we need to make sure our kids are being safe and smart, and we can start by sharing these tips with them.
1. Keep your accounts locked down, and check your privacy settings regularly.
Honestly, unless your Facebook or Instagram accounts are somehow tied to a business or you use them to make money, there's no reason your accounts shouldn't be private. This is especially true for kids and teens! There are a lot of dangerous people who troll popular hashtags, and if your kids and teens have public accounts, they're practically inviting them in. Also, make sure you're doing regular privacy checks, to make sure settings weren't reverted in an update or something.
2. Your friends list should be just that: FRIENDS.
As in, people you know in real life. There's no reason to approve every single friend request or follow you get. Be picky about who you let into your digital world, because that world contains a lot of information about you! Popularity doesn't mean much in the long run, and being popular on the internet means even less.
3. Don't share personal details, and turn off location services!
It's one thing if you can to include the location of, say, Disneyland in your posts from your last visit. Obviously, people can see you're actually at Disneyland. But some people save their home address as a location and tag it every time they're there! Not a good idea, at all. Also, when it comes to sharing details about yourself, less is absolutely more. No one who doesn't know you in real life needs to know all of your personal details.
4. Consider using a more specialized kind of social media platform for sharing photos, stories, and family history.
A lot of people use social media to chronicle their lives and have this digital footprint to look back on and share with future generations. But you can do that without sacrificing your privacy and safety. MiLegacy is a new "family-centric family-centric platform that is dedicated to protecting their clients’ privacy and security." Share photos, record audio to tell a story, and pull everything together in one, permanent place for your friends and family.
5. Remember, nothing on the internet is every really gone from the internet.
The advent of the screenshot completely changed the game, and now you can't be sure that something you post or share isn't going to fall into the wrong hands (or be used against you in some way). You can delete everything, but it's never really gone. Be smart about what you post! Before you share something, just consider for a second how you would feel if you couldn't take it back. The internet is all about no-takesies-backsies.