Academics Plus, Inc. realizes that as technology is becoming more prevalent in our lives, this also means that it is becoming more prevalent in the lives of children. In this, case parents may wish to ensure there are adequate parental controls on their devices to ensure that their children can be free to use these technologies safely.
We have launched a series on Parental Controls for varying technologies in hopes this will be able to aid parents in making choices about how best to monitor their children.
Many children are getting involved on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter both with and without their parents blessings. Sites like Facebook offer a variety of privacy options and require children to be a certain age before entering the site, but other social networks like Twitter offer little protection. Still, there are a few steps parents can take to ensure their child’s safety on these networks:
- Check the site’s policies. Always be sure to check the terms of service on the social networking sites your children use. Many of them have age restrictions and do not allow anyone below the age of 16 or 13 to access the site. Allowing your child to join these networks if they are under the appropriate age as ruled by the site may get your child’s account restricted or deleted.
- Keep track of friends, likes, and followers. As a parent, you should have access to your child’s social networks and websites. You can make this a rule within your household. Keep track of who your child friends and follows, and even what links they like. For example, your child could have appropriately aged peers added as “Friends” on Facebook, but “Like” a band, film, or other brand of media that will post “updates” to their Facebook home page that may include material above their age range. Keeping track of what your child “likes” and who their friends are will help you ensure they are safe.
- Adjust privacy settings yourself. Most social networks come with adequate privacy settings that make your account unsearchable or restrict access for certain people. Be sure to check the “Help” or “FAQ” sections on your social networks to find ways to adjust the privacy settings for your child’s account. You can restrict their account so they cannot receive messages or be “friended” by strangers.
- Discuss the appropriate use of social media. Social networks are relatively new and gaining popularity. It allows for quick communication with friends, but can also be a doorway for cyberbullying. Be sure to discuss with your child the importance of obeying site rules and being aware of what they post. Show them how to report any content they may see that is inappropriate and ensure that they understand that once something is posted on the Web, it can be there forever.
Alternatively, you can choose to join social networks that are specifically designed for children. The following is a list of a variety of social networks that are built for younger audiences.
Kid-Safe Social Networks –
Whether you wish to restrict your child’s access to these kid-safe social networks or allow them to enter popular sites like Facebook or Twitter is up to individual parents. Talking with your children about the appropriate use of technology is always advised for parents.
Good luck and happy browsing!
Reader Question – Do you have any suggestion for parental control technologies or is there something you would like us to feature on our Parent Controls series? Comment here or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter!.