Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — It’s rare not to find someone involved in social media these days, but there is a difference between posting some pictures of family and friends, and creating active content on social media, as part of your daily life.
And with 95% of teens surveyed in August by the Pew Research Center on Teens, Social Media, and Technology having access to smartphones (98% of teens over the age of 15), social media platforms don’t seem to matter. It will disappear in the near future.
Not only are these key social tools, but they also allow teens to feel part of their communities. Many teens love being online, according to another Pew Research Center survey of teens and their lives on social media. 80% of the teens surveyed felt more aware of what was going on in their friends’ lives, while 71% felt that social media allowed them to showcase their creativity.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself as you check your child’s social media accounts, according to information from CNN editor and social media expert Erin Hahn.
Do you know how many social media accounts your child has?
And if you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to get started. And if kids have any kind of device like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop at school, they likely have some kind of social media account there.
And every application that children want to add to their smart device, it must be through notifications that reach the parents’ phone for approval. Before approving any apps, parents should read reviews and do an internet search.
And if parents are sometimes not sure about an application, they should wait with approval, and sit with their children to find out why they want it. Children should avoid any apps that run social surveys, allow anonymous feedback, or require an individual to use location services.
If parents don’t have their own family phone plan connected to parental controls, they should set that up as soon as possible. Different devices and applications have methods and tools that allow parents to monitor through their settings, as it is impossible to link all the options here. However, a quick search will get you the coverage that’s right for you, including apps that track your child’s text messages, and changing the settings on your child’s phone to turn it off at a certain time each night.
I don’t know what I’m looking for. What social media platforms do children use?
The top social media platforms used by teens today are YouTube (95% of teens surveyed), TikTok (67%), Instagram (62%) and Snapchat (59%) ), according to a Pew Research Center survey of teens and social media technology.
Other social media platforms that teens use less are Twitter, Reddit, WhatsApp, and Facebook. It is worth noting that Facebook is witnessing a significant decline in the number of teenage users. This list is not comprehensive. Children’s devices should be checked for group chat apps (such as Slack or Discord), as well as sports or activity apps where there are group chat capabilities.
Do your children disclose personal information in their profiles or their answers to questions?
Some preteens and preteens use their real names, date of birth, home address, pet names, locker numbers, or their school’s baseball team. Any of this information may be used to determine your child’s identity and location in real life.
Children also should not answer surveys and quizzes that invite children to share their unique information and repost it for others to see. These can be useful tools for harassers and people trying to steal your children’s identity.
Do your children use real photos or their bio?
Even if children keep their social media profiles “secret”, their biographical information, screen name, avatar or profile picture is considered public information.
Do an online search for your child’s name to see how they identify themselves, and scroll through the pictures to make sure there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be made public.
Do your kids create content in their rooms?
Talk to children about how to protect themselves, as they do not want strangers to see their bedroom, bathroom or study area.
Is your child’s social media profile public?
This is difficult for several reasons. In order for content creators to build their network of followers, their account must remain public on social media. If your child is an entrepreneur or attention-seeking artist, closing their account will prevent this from happening.
However, there is a way to get around this by creating two accounts. The first, private, is closed, and exclusive only to close family and friends, and the second, public, lacks user identification, but showcases whatever brand the child hopes to cultivate.
Parents manage some public accounts for children who have a lot of followers, and they mention that on their profile. If your kids want public profiles because they hope to catch the attention of a talent scout, then having accounts monitored by a responsible adult with their best interests at heart is a healthy compromise.
The majority of teens today use their social media to connect with local friends. The benefit of keeping their accounts secret is that they are allowed to monitor who follows their content. It prevents outsiders from accessing and publishing their content without their permission. And it protects them from unwanted contact with strangers.
And not all social media platforms have an option to make your account “secret”. YouTube contains parental control tools that can be modified at any time. TikTok and Instagram can be made private (meaning users must approve who follows them) by making a change in their account settings. Once the account is confidential, a small padlock will appear next to the username.
Snapchat allows users to approve followers on a case-by-case basis, as well as turning off features that detect a user’s location.
Most group chat apps don’t have the ability to be private insofar as they require users to agree to follower requests. Take time to discuss with your kids who they allow to follow them, and what personal information they allow those followers to see. They should also be taught how to “block” insecure or unkind individuals.
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