With social media becoming ubiquitous in the homes and lives of most kids, parents are under increasing pressure to understand the impact of these sites on their children. Parental safety tools, such as a person lookup website, can help parents make sure that their children aren’t talking with strangers or visiting the wrong type of sites. However, the communication happening on social media sites is much harder to manage. It is important for parents to understand the impact that social media has on their teens’ lives.

The Right Age

Don't let your child create a social media profile when they're too young.
Your child may be too young to create a social media profile.

The first thing to determine is the right age for a teen to join social media. Though sites like Facebook require users to be at least 13 years old, there are no major enforcement tools in place. It is up to individual families to decide for themselves what works, and then communicate those rules to their children. Filtering software and parental controls can help keep kids away from unapproved pages until they are old enough. When you do decide to allow your teen to set up a Facebook profile or other online presence, talk to them about what should and should not be shared online.

Talking Points

Once a teen is using social media regularly, it becomes more important to continually discuss the use of these sites with their family members. Be sure the ask your teen what they are experiencing online, and create house rules for how to respond to bullies and communication from strangers. Enforce these rules as strictly as one would enforce curfew. In addition, your teen must understand there are real world consequences for online behavior.

One way to monitor your teen’s online activity is to keep your family computer somewhere central in your home. If teens cannot use the computer hidden from adult sight, they will be less likely to visit forbidden sites or share personal details. In addition, you can use a person lookup tool to learn more about any strangers your teen may be talking to. These powerful tools can provide you anything from their address to their public records.

Online Safety

Make sure that your teens know what kinds of links are and are not safe to click. Talk to them about what can happen when they click on shady sweepstakes and giveaway links. Explain phishing emails and the consequences of stolen or misused personal information. Always double check the privacy settings and firewalls on the family computer to make sure that kids cannot follow the wrong links.

Once a teen is online, parents should regularly check on their profiles and activity. They can also see who they are talking to by using a person lookup website. In addition, you should teach your teen how certain personal details and photos can be used by predators to locate them in the real world. Ask your teen to remove any pictures or information that can lead to this kind of stalking. Then, check their profile regularly for any new updates that could be damaging. Their online presence can be seen by many other people, including potential future colleges or employers.

Set an Example

Of course, one of the surest ways to help teens understand proper social media behavior is to model it for them. Parents should practice what they preach and keep their own profiles free of private details and inappropriate pictures. By behaving the way they want their teens to behave, parents can show their kids how to act and communicate on social media. This includes discussions regarding how social media may affect how they see themselves in relation to their peers. For some teens and college students, it can be difficult to distinguish reality from what they see on social media.

To learn more about how to keep your kids safe online, please visit our Contact page to get in touch with Youth Effect.