What Is Social Media?
Social media are websites and/or apps where people can connect with businesses, strangers, friends, and family, and post online content. Popular social networking sites used today include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok. These platforms are used by people of all ages, including children.
When a person joins a platform, they get a personal profile which they can set to public (viewable by anyone) and private (only viewable by friends or followers). A user can decide what personal information is included on their profile including full name, date of birth, email address, phone number, and a short description.
Should Your Child Be On Social Media?
It’s a known fact that children are joining social media as young as 6-years-old. However, with most platforms, they state anyone under the age of 13 should not utilize them. This doesn’t prevent younger kids from creating personal accounts even with their parent’s knowledge and permission.
Ultimately, it’s up to the parent whether they are comfortable with their child joining one or multiple social media sites. Be warned that such sites do expose young children to various dangers including cyberbullying, catfishers, sexual predators, inappropriate content, scammers, technology addiction, and more.
Thankfully, many social media apps include parental control features and settings to protect children from such threats.
Social Media Parental Controls On Each Platform
- Facebook Messenger Kids: Kids under the age of 13 can utilize this to message parent-approved Facebook contacts without needing a Facebook account.
- Private Account: All Facebook accounts have the option to be set to private. Meaning, only those the person is friends with can see their posts.
- Block Facebook Accounts: Users can block specific accounts on Facebook.
- Who Can See Your Posts: A user can control who can see, comment, and link their posts.
- Account Privacy Checkup: To ensure a Facebook account is secure, one can run a Privacy Checkup.
- Turn Off Direct Messages: To protect a user from spam messages or solicitation, direct messages on Twitter can be turned off entirely.
- Private Account: Set the Twitter account to private so only the user’s followers can see their tweets.
- Hide Sensitive Content: This enables a user to hide inappropriate, explicit, violent, and crude content on the platform.
- Mute & Block Accounts: Muting an account blocks their content from appearing on your child’s Twitter feed. Blocking an account prevents them from interacting with them entirely.
- Private Account: Setting an account to private only allows the user’s followers to view their photos and videos.
- Block An Account: Any account deemed inappropriate, spam, or otherwise can be reported to Instagram.
- Report A Post: Any post believed to be inappropriate, spam, or violates Instagram’s community guidelines can be reported.
- Turn Off Commenting: To prevent cyberbullying, trolling, and spam, comments can be disabled on a post-by-post basis.
- Story Resharing: To prevent others from sharing your child’s story, you can disable resharing in the Privacy settings.
- Hide “Discover” Content: A user can hide specific content they do not want to view in the Snapchat Discover section.
- Ghost Mode: By enabling this, a user’s current location can not be viewable by others on Snap Map.
- Block An Account: A user can block any account on Snapchat.
- Who Can…: Within Snapchat, one can specifically decide who can message them, view their stories and posts, see their location, and more.
- Restricted Mode: Restricts and filters out inappropriate content on a YouTube account.
- YouTube Kids: A version of YouTube that only provides kid-friendly content and settings parents can utilize to filter content even more.
- Private Account: Make a TikTok account private so only followers can view posted TikToks.
- Family Pairing: Enable a parent to create an account for their child. The parent will be able to limit their child’s account and manage their settings.
- Screen Time Management: Limit the amount of time one spends using TikTok.
- Restricted Mode: Filters out inappropriate content on the platform.
- 2-Step Verification: Provide an extra step of account verification to protect it from being hacked.
- Report User: If someone your child is chatting with is displaying anything inappropriate, explicit, or spam, they may be reported on the platform.
- Moderator-Regulated Section: On Omegle, it’s recommended kids and teens only chat in the Moderator-Regulated Section. This section is overseen by Omegle moderators to filter out inappropriate users.
- Information Privacy: In the profile settings, parents can choose to keep their child’s location and phone number hidden from other users.
- Swipe Preferences: Adjust your child’s Yubo swipe preferences to ensure they only chat with those that are a specific gender and age.
- Report User & Flag Content: Block and report any user or content you deem inappropriate for your child to be viewing.
- Lock Rooms: Lock chat rooms to prevent strangers from joining in on your child’s chats.
- Private Mode: Will enable all chat rooms your child enters to be locked.
- Disable Location Sharing
- Report and Block: Report and block any user that is harassing your child.
- Manage Chat: Select who is able to chat with your child such as just friends.
- Manage Spam or Inappropriate Messages: Choose to Report Spam messages, Report Abuse, or Block the user.
- Include Me In Meet: Within the Privacy Settings, users can choose to remove themselves from being included in the Meet stream.
5 Social Media Safety Tips
Thoroughly Review All Account Settings
With all of your child’s social media accounts, thoroughly go through all settings. Ensure to cover privacy features, parental controls, and set their account to private. This should be done about once a month to check for any new settings and ensure no settings have been changed.
Limit Sharing Personal Information
Personal information can be used to steal a person’s identity. Know what personal information your child is sharing on their social media platforms. This includes their profile information, which they mention in posts and share with others in messages. Make it clear to your child they must be careful what personal information they share online, including with friends.
Only Friend/Follow Public Figures, Businesses and People You Know
To ensure your child isn’t targeted by scammers and predators, make sure they only follow people they know, legitimate businesses, and public figures. Also, every so often, check your child abiding by this by logging into their account.
Block and Report Suspicious Users
Advise your child that if someone is harassing them (threatening or not) to block and report them to Instagram. If there’s any question about the user, they will come to you for assistance.
Avoid Location Tagging
Your child tagging their current location in stories and posts could lead to a world of issues like stalking. Most platforms do not allow the location to be disabled, but this can be done on the phone itself.
For more social media safety tips, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Media & Kids
Why Is It Important To Stay Safe On Social Media?
Staying safe on social media is highly important for protecting oneself or others from various dangers. This includes identity thieves, hackers, catfishers, scammers, stalkers, cyberbullies, trolls, and more.
Is Social Media Bad For Kids?
It depends on who you ask. Several negatives of kids utilizing social media include being targeted by predators, cyberbullying, technology addiction, FOMO, and a lack of sleep. It can be okay for kids to use social media as long as they are closely monitored by their parents.
How Can I Monitor My Child’s Social Media?
Most social media platforms offer settings and/or parental controls that can be utilized to restrict a child’s social media use. To monitor their social media accounts, it’s best to use a parental control app like Highster Mobile.
What Are The Most Dangerous Social Media Platforms?
No social media platform is completely safe to use. However, the most popular and dangerous ones today are Omegle, TikTok, and Snapchat.
If you are looking to oversee your child’s social media and phone use, try Highster Mobile today!