Dangers of Social Media
“Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them.”
—Amy Jo Martin
Be a Smart Parent
Social media invites people to share their lives with friends and family. Unfortunately it can allow strangers to see what your children are sharing, where they are, and what they are doing, unless you set up the correct privacy settings and monitor their activity.
Children should never post naked pictures or anything that would embarrass them or come back to haunt them in the future. Remind children that once something is published on the Internet it does not belong to them anymore. It can be copied, posted again, and used for unintended and illegal purposes. Even private posts or messages are never really private. Explain to children that there are very real dangers if they allow strangers to follow them online.
Rules & Tools
Establish an ongoing dialogue with your children keeping lines of communication open.
Supervise use of all Internet-enabled devices.
Be aware of your children’s online activities and friends on the internet and social media.
Regularly check online communities your children visit frequently.
Supervise and manage photos and videos your children post and send online.
Do not allow the use of webcams without permission.
Teach your children how to protect their personal information online.
Be sure your children use privacy settings at all times.
Instruct your children to avoid meeting face-to-face with anyone they meet online. Everyone is a stranger on the internet.
Teach your children how to respond to cyberbullying by feeling safe to come to you first.
Establish an agreement with your children concerning their Internet use with agreed upon consequences for not following the rules.
Set an age-appropriate filter for all apps.
Consider using monitoring software and make sure you mentor children by having "the talk" about the dangers of the internet.
Check your children’s online activity by viewing browser history regularly.
Set time limits and consider using the time-limiting software for all devices.
Disallow access to chat rooms or live chats without permission, very dangerous for children.
Use safe search engines, never allowing the TOR router.
Limit your children’s instant-messenger contacts.
Set up cyber-security software on all devices.
Report any content or activity you deem unlawful or nefarious to law enforcement.
“IAD” Internet Addiction Disorder
Excessive Internet use that interferes with daily life.
Overuse of the Internet has been found by various studies to disrupt individual’s time use and has caused a series of health problems. The existence of Internet Addiction, as a disorder is not recognized in the U.S. at this time. However, in countries like South Korea, this epidemic has been identified as a significant health crisis.
Addiction to social media networking, dating apps, and text messaging is at the point where online friends become more important than friends in real life. Information overload is compulsive, like web surfing, watching videos, playing games; and searching Google endlessly. This helps to feed isolation and causes imbalances, and compulsions such as online gambling, gaming, stock trading, and online shopping. Internet addiction disorder ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems. All addictions whether chemical or behavioral, share specific characteristics including, compulsive loss of control and mood modification. Try to create Internet-free zones and encourage other interests and social activities. Talk to your children about underlying issues, and if you see a problem, you need to address it immediately with some type of intervention. Trust me it will be ugly because kids feel as though they will die if they don't have access to their devices. This is a significant health crisis so you need to be strong. Be good examples for them so they can lead healthy lives now and in the future.
Signs of addiction:
Preoccupation with the Internet
A need for increased time spent online to achieve the same amount of satisfaction
Repeated efforts to curtail use with no progress
Irritability, depression, or mood swings with limited access
Staying online much longer than initially planned, losing time
Becoming another person online, different identity, disconnecting with reality.
Putting a job or relationship at risk by overuse of the Internet
Lying to others about how much time is spent online.
Becoming defensive and hostile to repeated pleas for you to stop
Tips for Parents
Add a password to your phone.
Use and find your phone's privacy settings.
Reject e-mail and social-media requests from strangers.
Check privacy setting on all apps.
Avoid fraudulent Wi-Fi networks.
Use strong passwords.
Do not download content from unknown sources.
Only accept apps from authorized app stores.
Disable location services (GPS).
Install firewalls—antivirus and antispyware.
Do not open e-mails from unfamiliar users.
Type in websites instead of clicking on links.
Keep your password(s) protected and secret.
Look for “https” before opening an account on a website.