November 9th is Social Media Kindness Day. Set up in memory of Caroline Flack, on the day that would have been her birthday, it’s a great opportunity for us to consider our actions and the actions of others on social media platforms.
As parents, we know it’s important to give kids freedom as they develop, but it’s also key to keep them safe online.
Tips for parents to keep kids safe online
Begin by exploring the safety and privacy settings of any apps to determine their appropriateness for your child. Most platforms offer features such as private accounts, restrictions on friend requests, and the ability to hide the user's location.
If your child already has an account, engage in a conversation with them. Here are 10 great tips you can help encourage them to be safe online with:
Authenticity matters: Emphasise the importance of being genuine. Advise them not to pretend to be someone they're not and to express their true selves online.
Spread positivity: Remind them that, despite the seeming anonymity of social media, they should never post hurtful content. Every message reaches a real person, so promoting kindness is essential.
Think before posting: Instill the habit of thoughtful posting. Once something is shared online, it becomes accessible to everyone. Encourage them to consider the potential impact of their posts.
Create strong passwords: Help your child create strong and unique passwords for their social media accounts. Emphasize the importance of not sharing passwords with anyone, even friends.
Educate on privacy settings: Teach your child how to navigate and utilize privacy settings on social media platforms. Ensure they understand how to control who sees their posts, friend requests, and personal information.
Be wary of online connections: Caution against adding or accepting friend requests from unfamiliar individuals. Explain the risks of false profiles and the importance of connecting only with people they know in real life.
Guard personal information: Stress the significance of privacy. Advise them never to disclose their address, location, or personal details on social media. This includes information about their school or where they live.
Cyberbullying awareness: Educate your child about cyberbullying, its signs, and the importance of reporting any instances. Make sure they understand that it's okay to seek help if they are being bullied or witnessing someone else being bullied.
Lead by example: Model responsible online behavior. Children often learn by observing, so demonstrate positive online habits and etiquette in your own social media use.
Manage screen time: Establish reasonable limits on screen time. Encourage a healthy balance between online and offline activities to promote overall well-being.
By implementing these tips and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your child, you can create a safe and supportive online environment for them to navigate as they grow.
Keeping kids kind on social media
Social media kindness day suggests:
Choose your words wisely. Be authentic, but be conscious of your wording.
Allow people to voice their views as long as they’re not at the expense of others.
Consider the consequences of what you post. Be honest, balanced and kind.
Don’t humiliate others. If you see something you don’t like, offer a kindness check, respectfully.
Remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation. Don’t get embroiled in online arguments.