By: Meghan Mathias
It is rather difficult to find someone who doesn’t have some form of social media these days, and that includes young kids. Using social media has become a necessary function of society, no matter how you feel about it. Even kids who don’t have cell phones are able to create social media accounts from their home computers. Social media can have some wonderful uses, such as keeping in touch with friends and family. However, the amount of privacy we have on these apps and how much of that privacy we can even control is becoming a global concern.
A 2014 study from the Pew Research Center found that 91% of Americans agree or strongly agree that people have lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by social media entities. Furthermore, 80% of social media users were concerned about advertisers and businesses accessing their data. There are of course privacy settings on most social media profiles, such as Instagram’s feature that allows your profile to only be viewable by those who you let follow you. Forbes claims that nearly 50% of surveyed social media users keep their accounts in private mode.
So what does this all mean for kids on social media? Well, none of us (not even adults) can totally control what happens to the information and data we put on social media once it is out there, or even know who has access to it. However, we can control what information we put on social media.
- Monitor what your kids post on social media and how frequently they post
- Turn the private mode on for all of your kid’s social media accounts to avoid strangers lurking on their pages
- Avoid allowing your kid to post too many pictures of themselves on social media
- Don’t allow your kid to make any personal information public on any of their accounts
- Consider not allowing your kid to have social media until they are a certain age and better able to understand the privacy risks
- What is your favorite social media app to use and why?
- Do you sometimes overshare on social media? Why do you think that might be dangerous?
- Do you feel that having your social media accounts on private mode makes you feel safer in that space?
- What kinds of people do you let follow your social media accounts? Just friends and family, or others as well?
Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents, to teachers and students. Sign up for our free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics. See more cyber safety and cyber ethics blogs produced exclusively for EarthLink. Looking for a social media parental control? Try a 30-day free trial of Bark. If you sign up after your trial, Bark donates 25% of your monthly fee to Savvy Cyber Kids.
Thank you to the Savvy Cyber Kid’s sponsors!
Interested in becoming a Savvy Cyber Kids sponsor? Email Ben Halpert.