Picture this: Your child sent inappropriate photos of herself to a boy in her class with the hopes that he would keep the images private. What your daughter was not aware of is that her boyfriend was screen recording the content, and now it has been sent to their peers at school. According to Digital Media Law Expert Emma Sadlier, parents think this will never happen to them until it does. We live in a digital world and while our children are pretty tech-savvy, it’s still important that parents maintain a vigilant sense of security when it comes to our children’s online presence, especially children under the age of 13.
Do parents know the age restrictions for the different social media apps and games their children are using? 13 is the usual age for most of these apps, including Whatsapp.
Kids younger than 13 are usually more gullible and it’s easier to solicit all kinds of content from them. The best advice Sadlier gives parents is to keep their children away from social media until they are in high school. It does not mean they will not fall victim to cyberbullying, fake news, and other dangers, but they are older and better informed at that stage.
5 Tips about the use of mobile devices and social media
- Teach your children to be wary of friend requests from people they don’t know. They should consider everyone to be dodgy until they can prove that they are not.
- Children learn from observing, so it is important to show them how they should use their phones. Parents should, therefore, be good role models for their kids. You cannot reprimand your child for always being on their phone if you are always on yours.
- Manage the WI-FI at home and ensure that it is off at night so that they cannot access it.
- Create an open-door policy with your child and have regular conversations regarding what they are doing on social media, and if they came across disturbing content. Your kids need to be comfortable enough to chat with you about their social media use. This means parents will not completely infringe on their children’s privacy, but be kept in the loop enough to know if something is going wrong.
- Teach your children the billboard rule. Unless what you are about to type or post is something you can post on a big billboard with your face and full details on it, then you should not post it at all. Kids need to remember that “the internet does not forget”.