We caught up with Kim Maslin to ask her some social media safety tips for parents. She was nice enough to Skype with us from her home town of Perth, Australia and she shared these great suggestions with us on video.
It is so important to communicate with your children. Ask them about social media, find out what sites they use, which are their favourites and why – show an interest, because this is an important aspect of their lives. Also, you need to create an environment where you can talk openly about the risks and benefits of social media with your children – you want them to feel comfortable talking about online safety issues with you, without fear of getting into trouble, being judged, or worse – having the internet taken away from them!
One thing I like to say often is, “you can only teach your kids to drive because you know how to drive. Social media is no different.” So, if you are unfamiliar with how social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram work – you need to learn! Whether that is Googling information, or attending a seminar like mine or even asking your children to sit down and show you the basics… The more you know about social media, the better position you will be in to guide your children towards using it safely.
3. Keep it in perspective
Although there are many risks to children using social media, and although these risks are very much real – it is important to keep things in perspective. Most of the issues that occur online have occurred throughout society long before the introduction of the internet, bullying is a great example. Although social media can be scary because it is new and unfamiliar, my advice is to remember that it is simply another tool your kids are using, that you need to implement rules and guidelines for – rather than simply banning it. It is about educating children on how to use it safely, not preventing them from using it all together.
Thank you to Kim Maslin for writing this article.
What questions do you have for Kim? Let us know in the comments box below.