As a parent do you worry about all of the information that is being collected about your children on the web? I’d love your advice. What do you do to monitor or reduced it? I recently came across a website called Just Delete Me. I’m not promoting the site, but did find it interesting. It purports to help us clean up the digital breadcrumbs we and our kiddos blissfully scatter around the web.
One of the things that caught me a bit off guard is just how many different social media sites there are. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter any more. Do you know which sites and apps your children use? The number is growing, and some target younger people. I’m willing to wager there are many you have never even heard of. Here are links to just a few you likely know, and some you don’t.
Social Media Sites/Apps: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, Vine , Kik, Snapchat, Wanelo, 4Chan, Pheed. Do your kids use these? Do you know the risks of each? There are several sites I use regularly, like Instagram, that have a growing darker side. And newer sites like Snapchat and Vine may be worse still. Heard of them?
Do you know what Social Media sites and apps your children use? If so, have you spoken to them about the risks they pose, and how to protect themselves? Do you monitor their online activity… their digital footprint?
I wish that there were some simple silver bullets to help you protect your children, but it’s going to take hard work on our part to keep current and understand the risk. And more important than anything, it’s going to take open, honest and sometimes uncomfortable conversation with our kids. We can’t simply ignore or not address this issue.
A large number of kids have smartphones these days, so access (if we allow them to have it) to social media is 24/7. What do you do to monitor and manage your children’s internet usage? When our daughter has a computer (in the future… she’s just 5 now) it will be placed in a public area. And I plan to take her cellphone away each night at bedtime.
I also plan to “friend” her on any social media network she uses while she’s young, with pre-agreed boundaries. That, however, is the reason most kids move to other sites and apps we don’t know about. Seems over-protective? And will probably not make me very popular with my daughter… but I’m not her friend. I’m her dad. Where do you draw the line?
I’d love your advice. What can we do to protect our kids, without being overly controlling? They need to become self-sufficient, and need to be given trust and some freedom to do so? Please leave a comment with your advice, thoughts, fears. If we parents all share what we learn about raising children in this brave new world, we can help each other and our kids.