Parents have a tough job these days. Threats to children seem to be everywhere. Playing outside has risks, but so does playing on social media.
There is much that is good about the way we can share and interact on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, as a recent case in Georgia proves, parents cannot ignore online threats when it comes to your kids connecting with strangers on line.
One man was arrested for allegedly trying to meet a girl half his age after setting up what he hoped would be a sexual encounter through social media, according to police.
Because you never know who may try to contact your child, our call to action centers on setting guidelines, and setting a good example for your children.
Limit time spent on social media.
Help your child choose the strictest privacy settings available on line.
Make a rule that they must share their password with you so you can check periodically for any inappropriate messages, photos or friends.
Remind them that if they wouldn't say something to someone's face, they should never write it in a text, or email, or post it on a website.
Praise them when they follow the rules.
Parents should be a role model by not posting obsessively on Facebook, or checking messages constantly.
For older teens, sit down with them and ask: If you had a scholarship or a job riding on what you have posted on Instagram or Facebook, would it hurt your chances or ruin your future?
Remind them that everything they post will live forever in searchable in cyberspace. Employers and colleges will search them. That's a given.
No one using mobile apps is anonymous.
Social media needs to be managed by both the parent, and the child in order to make sure no one in your family makes the news for anything you do or say online.
Social media makes communicating easy, but first, do the right thing by educating yourself and your children about privacy and the digital trail we all leave behind everywhere we go.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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Columbus, GA 31906
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