In this era, social media is almost synonymous with everyday life. No matter how hard parents try to gatekeep their kids’ activities, it can be a little challenging.
There are already tons of TV and entertainment content depicting the adverse effects of social media usage for kids, from Black Mirror episodes to crime documentaries about how kids were kidnapped after meeting strangers online. So how exactly can you protect your children from such things? How do you make sure they responsibly use their social media and other online privileges without completely taking them away?
This article will tell you some of the most important things you can do to ensure that your kids are safe and doing alright.
Use Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software
Viruses and malware are some of the most common forms of cyberattacks against people and even businesses. What most criminals do is send in clickbait links to people’s browsers or even in their emails containing a camouflaged virus. Usually, they send in suspicious emails that look too simple for anyone to understand, hence clicking the links. Remember, advertisements with suspicious links are not anywhere near how social media content specialists run ad campaigns.
After that, criminals would gain the power to hack your device remotely, and in this case, hack your kid’s computers. Criminals with spyware can even access your kids’ cameras without you noticing. These people can even take recordings of the things happening in your child’s bedroom and then, later on, use them to blackmail you.
Children, even teenagers, may know a thing or two about technology, but they are still gullible and lack critical suspicions over these sorts of things so beware.
Always Turn On Your Parental Controls
Did you know that more and more social media apps and even streaming apps have parental control features? There are parental controls that allow you to monitor the content that appears in your children’s feed. You can gatekeep the information and entertainment material that they are watching. You can streamline all the things you know are best for your children’s education at their age. There are also software programs that allow you to monitor and watch over your children’s social media activity: who’s following them and who they are following. If you are worried about whether you are invading their privacy, keep in mind that you are only monitoring their activity and not sticking your nose into their private conversations. This way, you do not have to do that and invade their privacy, for you already have an idea of who they might be interacting with.
Furthermore, you have complete control of how much time they spend on any social media platform. It will help you guide them to live a healthier life instead of drowning in TikTok and YouTube all day long.
Do Not Forget to Turn Off Their Real-time Location
Amongst the wonders of modern technology is having a global-positioning tracker that enhances travel and security, but then it can also become a tool for cybercriminals. When posting on social media, you must teach your kids to leave out important personal details, including their real-time locations and your home address. Posting these details may seem harmless, but someone with a criminal mind would know and develop a sense of understanding as to how your kids’ daily routine is. They would get an idea of where your kids are hanging out and where they usually go before going straight home. It presents another risk to your child’s safety, as they are likely to be kidnapped by people who know these things. Remember that it is better to be safe than be sorry afterward.
Never Allow Them to Meet Strangers Online
Ultimately, you can only remind your kids of what not to do. Everything all boils down to not trusting strangers you meet online. Kids can be subject to catfishing, where strangers pretend to be people they aren’t to gain teenagers’ attention. Usually, these are old creeps pretending to be younger people online to get in touch with female teenagers. Although online dating is a phenomenon that the world is slowly accepting and normalizing, teenagers should not be allowed to talk to strangers online freely. After all, social media is all about connecting to your friends or people who share the same interest. Let social media be about that for your children.
Being a parent during this era is challenging as there could be threats everywhere you look, but restricting your kids from using social media is not the answer. You simply have to guide them well and enough until they get it on their own.