Social Media and Kids: Sharing vs. Over-Sharing

Growing up in the 90’s had its perks. The world was just being introduced to the concept of carrying around bulky mobile phones and email was barely in existence. The virtual world was still something that was yet to take centre-stage in our lives and people could eat their lunches without “instgramming” it.

Fast forward to the present world and we see children being born into a virtual world; a world that shares their every move on a social media platform and sometimes, its downright scary. The concept of privacy is foreign to a vast majority of people and sharing and swapping stories on Facebook or Snapchat have become second nature to some. Providing internet safety to their children has become a daunting prospect for parents in the current age of over sharing on public platforms. So how do we keep our children safe when it comes to sharing/over sharing on social media?

We can break it down into four simple steps:

1. Keep the children’s computers in the family room where you can monitor what they see and who they talk to online.

2. Install filtering software on computers and mobile phones so that children can still use the internet but know their boundaries at the same time.

3. Talk to them about using common sense while on the internet. Being open and having an honest conversation about sharing too much with the strangers online can go along way in ensuring that your child understands that not everything is, as it seems on the internet.

4. Children sometimes get drawn into peer drama that blows up the social media sphere with arguments and snarky commentary. One way to avoid this from happening is to teach kids to take a breath before posting things online. A simple technique would be to ask them to count to 10 before posting anything online and another would be to explain to you if that post would do more harm than good if it is posted online.

More importantly, let them follow your lead. When they see you being cautious about what you post online and how much you expose them to social media, they begin to follow your example. Ask them to talk to you about any bullying behavior that that may have encountered online and discourage the habit of “checking in” to places online. Parental control softwares are an excellent tool to also make sure that you only communicate with trusted friends and family.