4 Easy Ways to Make Social Media Kid-Friendly - PlayFurn

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4 Easy Ways to Make Social Media Kid-Friendly

These days, social media is unavoidable – but you still want to protect your child.

And if you grew up during a time when there was no internet, or have only started using it later in life, you may not be so keen on letting your child use social media. On the flip side, you might see all the benefits of the online world, but still, question how to best let your child enter it.

Read on for 4 ways to make social media a little more kid-friendly.

1. Research Everything

Before you let your kid join a particular social network, do your research. What are the parental controls available? What are the privacy settings like? What are their guidelines for children using the app/site?

When your child comes to you and asks if they can join, tell them you’ll look into it and get back to them.

2. Teach Your Child to Fish

There’s an old saying that rather than giving someone fish, you should teach them to fish. The same goes when it comes to your child using social media.

Yes, you should use parental controls.

Yes, in the beginning, it might be wise to supervise your child when using the app/site.

But, in the long run, the best person to supervise your child is…your child. They need to learn what questions to ask and what warning signs to look out for online. Chat with them about privacy settings, cyberbullying, inappropriate online behavior, spamming, phishing, oversharing, filters, and selective sharing that makes people seem “perfect,” and the negative effects of social media. Also talk to them about best practices, how to stay safe online, how to deal with cyberbullying, social media role models, how to support other online users, and the positive effects of social media.

You want to teach them to be responsible, self-sufficient social media users. And the best way to do this is by having conversations with them about best practices online and to lead through example.

3. Set Up New Social Media Accounts Together

Whenever you let your child join a new social network, sit down together to set it up. Decide on the privacy settings (including location settings), read the child guidelines, discuss the pros and cons of the network, and so forth.

When setting up a new account, also discuss notifications. It’s no secret that our brains release dopamine when we hear a “ping” alerting us to a new message from a friend or see a “like.” But, becoming dependent on these “mini-highs” throughout the day doesn’t help us. So, talk to your child about setting notifications so that you only get alerts a few times a day.

Lastly, get your child curious about how they can use their account to create something positive. Can they be supportive of their friends? Can they create a business? Can they follow leaders whom they can learn from? What are the positive ways to use their account?

4. Focus on Positive Habits in General

There seems to be an overwhelming fear that everything is moving online. If you suffer from this fear, on the one hand, you need to realize that your child needs to learn how to navigate the online world. On the other, you need to ensure your child stays firmly rooted in the present.

Does your child have hobbies that involve offline activities? Does your child exercise? Does your child participate in chores around the house? Does your child value things such as visiting relatives and friends? If not, it might be time to set up some habits in real life that will serve to make your child more engaged in the here and now. Bear in mind that if your child is having a hard time in school, they may gravitate to the online world and seek friends there. If you want them to create real-life friendships, you might have to enroll them in activities with children who don’t go to their school.

Also, if you want to have an open conversation with your child about social media, you need to build an environment where you have open conversations about everything. That means asking questions about their life in general and talking about yours. You can also discuss things that are happening on the news or in a book they are reading. Be sure not to do this to lecture them, but to genuinely find out about their opinions.

But in the end, Social media is part of life

The best way to make social media kid-friendly is to teach them about the benefits and pitfalls and encourage them to follow best practices. Before you let them use a particular social network, also be sure to check that it’s age-appropriate. Common Sense Media, among others, will rate various apps to give parents guidelines.

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