Social Media for children: How to keep it safe and fun

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We are living in the digital age where one of the most common ways of communicating with one another is through various social media platforms.

Writing letters has long become a thing of the past, or for that matter, even a phone call is considered to be a painful task. Everyone seems to be living on the go and rushing through life. Priorities have changed, and habits, too, have altered over the years.

Living through the pandemic has only increased our dependency more on these platforms since social interaction came to an indefinite halt. But who is to blame here?

With online schooling becoming the new trend for children, it’s important to keep their safety and mental well-being in mind. While we cannot eliminate social media completely from their lives, given the new norm, it’s imperative to know the pros and cons, considering how it has become an integral part of our existence. Let’s get started with some essentials for making social media safe and fun for children.

1. Monitor their usage

As parents, one of the most important ways to ensure the safety of children is by monitoring their social media usage. Just like it becomes essential for parents to know who their children interact with in real life, it’s equally or even more crucial to know how they are spending their time on these platforms and who they are engaging with.

2. Set rules

Given the fast-paced pattern of our lives, children do require the freedom to do things at their own will. While allowing them to do so, it’s important to set some ground rules for their safety and protection. Setting those clear rules and keeping them posted with the consequences can help them use social media in a positive manner and to their advantage.

3. Control time

While setting rules has its own importance, setting a time limit for social media is essential too. Parents should have complete control over the time they allow their children to use the web. Sometimes an excess of knowledge can also hamper a child’s behavior and make them dependent on these platforms, which can cause problems later. Moderation is best, and it’s good to maintain it.

4. Inculcate safety habits

While we know how connected children are to the web, it’s important to teach them the dos and don’ts of social media. Teaching them basic safety habits of how they should be conducting themselves when using any social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or YouTube will only serve valuable to them. Additionally, it will give them a sense of awareness and make them more cautious of its use.

Below are some points which should be considered at all costs:

– Protect your individuality: Children should always be taught to safeguard their individuality and refrain from pretending to be someone they are not. Be yourself and learn to discern between the people who can be your real friends.

– Leave no room for rudeness: Avoid saying things that you would regret saying to a person’s face. Sitting behind a screen doesn’t give you the freedom of being rude to someone. Therefore, measure your words and say things you are comfortable saying to a person one-on-one.

– Be watchful of what you post: What you post online can be viewed by everyone, so make sure it isn’t something that fires back on you and cannot be taken out of proportion, only to cause problems for you later.

– Avoid adding strangers: In a virtual world, the easiest thing to do is become an imposter and hide your real identity because people find it convenient to pretend and fool others. In such a case, only interact with people you know and avoid befriending strangers.

– Don’t engage in anything inappropriate: Please refrain from sharing personal information or anything that you feel is inappropriate to share with your family. Never ever put yourself in a situation which can compromise your integrity.

5. Use a VPN on your router for security

Monitoring access to your children’s activities online can be quite a task as the usage comes with security risks. Cyber threats and attacks are a real thing, and in the world of 24/7 connectivity, so one needs to be careful of all the risks involved.

In similar fashion, a parent’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of their children, and they can only do it when they feel safe themselves. Using a VPN on your home router can help safeguard your well-being from potential threats like data loss, surveillance, DDoS attacks, etc. With the use of a VPN both you and your family can be safe from such attacks.

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