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Time has changed and digital connectivity now has turned the standard for most of us. Internet access, smartphone technology and 24x7 interactivity have become mandatory. We adore our technology and the many advantages that it affords us. Apparently, it comes as no wonder when we see our kids also being addicted to this technology the way we are.
And of course, you can't blame them when you discover out that they're "tweeting," "liking" and "Instagramming" almost every phase of their daily life.
As parents, you will have to admit that your kids are there on social media; irrespective whether you like or not. In fact, some parents themselves open up Facebook or Twitter account, while there are a few who try holding them away from exploring the world of social media. It has really become difficult to say "do as I say, not as I do," in this digitally-connected era.
You can't probably assist or keep an eye on what your child is doing on the social media platform unless you are aware of the medium. Before you pose any questions to them, first understand the medium yourself in case you aren’t aware of it. If Facebook and Twitter sound alien terms to you, seek help from trusted friend or family member who can teach you the ropes. Learn to navigate popular sites with easiness and feel restful with the format, lingo as well as the rules. When you do so, you stand much better prepared to deal with any issue or situation that your child may encounter online.
So you are fine with your child using Facebook or Twitter. If you have given permission for your son or daughter to be on any of the popular social media platforms, it’s time to sit down and discuss some rules of engagement. This calls for asking questions and setting some expectations. If at all there is any site that you would not want your child to visit, be very clear about it. Discuss the time frame within which he or she can use the sites every day. The rules need to be very clear and justified. The child should understand why you have set those rules and must agree to same. This will help you in keeping your kids safe from inappropriate languages, images and cyber bullying that occurs on social media.
See to it that kids understand the very fact that anything posted online is equal to putting the same personal info up on a hoarding for the world to witness. They should be made aware about the importance of keeping things in the limits of privacy. Teach them how they should keep their details, photos as posted on Facebook or Instagram confined by privacy settings. This is an important step to take in order to keep their cyber space protected.
If you're really worried about your kids' online activities, there are certain tools that can assist you to monitor and in a few cases block the child from social media use on particular sites. Parents, who are looking for better control over their kids' social media activity, can make use of such software that allow them to block certain sites. FamilyControls is one of the apps that let parents control child's social media behaviour.
Always remember, an apple will never fall far from the tree. If your kids see you pushing to get the finest shot of the dullest moments of life, just to post a picture of it on your Facebook account, they are likely to follow suit. If you post improper images or comments on social media, your kids will see them for sure and might even take some cue. So before you try to draw a line for them; limit and restrain your own social media activity. This will make your kids realize that everything has a place and time.
As parents you will have to keep your kids protected yet worldly and this can be done when you'll actively participate in their lives. Have open dialogue with them so that there is faith on both sides.