Child safety on social media | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

What started as a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family has devolved into a hotbed of fake news, scams, data breaches cyberbullying and little to no privacy.

Social media has come a long way from its roots, and most news is bad. But it’s one thing to put yourself out there and another to post information about your children. Social media on its own is harmful to children without your involvement. Don’t make it worse. Consider this your tech etiquette lesson of the day.

1. Did you try asking?

We get it. You’re proud of your kid’s game-winning home run or that they got a scholarship to their college of choice. You’re itching to share it with the world, but have you thought about how your child might feel?

Take your kid’s emotions into account. Your posts may embarrass them (long before social media, most of us faced embarrassment from our parents, as well-intentioned as it may have been). Your kid may not want to show off their achievements.

Ask them if it’s OK to post stuff about them. This not only shows you respect their feelings, but it’ll also teach them to do the same when sharing people’s news with others, social networks or otherwise.

2. Don’t overshare

Most social networks can share your location when you post, but it’s not mandatory. This is a safety and privacy feature you should be mindful of. Why does anyone need to know where you are unless you contact them personally?

Now think of how the risk goes up when it involves a child. Consider this example of a wholesome post: “Dropped my daughter off at the Broadway Mall today. She’s growing up so fast.”

OK, you’re venting your thoughts to your followers. Nothing wrong with that, except there’s way too much information. Now anyone who sees your post knows exactly where your daughter is. And even if your profile is private, that information can leak out beyond your network of friends and family.

Don’t ever give hints of where your child is at any time. The same applies to photos, which can also give away their location.

RELATED: 5 social media dos and don’ts to protect your privacy and security

3. Put yourself in their shoes before posting

Would you post a picture of your spouse getting the news that they lost their job? Would you share a photo of your best friend’s embarrassing wardrobe malfunction? If you answered yes, now put yourself in the same position. It doesn’t feel so good, does it?

Now apply the same rule to your children. Your son was bullied at school and came home feeling dejected. Your daughter’s heartbroken because she doesn’t have a prom date. They’re probably not in the mood to have their picture taken or let the world know how they feel. This is the time for a private chat with their parents.

If you’re looking for advice on how to help out your little loved ones, reach out to a professional or someone you trust. Keep your family’s private affairs, well, private.

4. Set a good example

Good or bad, your kids are influenced by everything you say or do in front of them. If you’re constantly sharing every detail of your personal life online, they will think it’s OK for them to do the same.

Keep your online activity out of your family affairs. In other words, don’t sit at the dinner table and discuss how amazing a friend’s vacation photos were. We all know that everything you see online is exaggerated and not a reflection of reality. Instead, plan a trip with your family and experience things yourselves! And leave Instagram out of it.

5. Pay attention to your children’s online activity

You may be careful, but are your kids following the same safe practices? Sit them down and talk to them about the dangers of social media. Here are some talking points to get you started:

  • Think before you post.
  • Don’t add people you don’t know.
  • Never send inappropriate pictures or content.
  • Never give your address or other personal information to anyone on social media.
  • Never share your location.
  • If you get a strange message, block that account and tell your parents immediately.

Kim created the Kids’ Tech Contract to assist in setting boundaries, including limitations on device usage, apps and websites. Tap or click here for the full document you and your child can sign. Also, spread the word to family members and friends.

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National Cyber Security