Websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Kik can be fun and rewarding for many people. But as you no doubt know, these apps and websites have their downsides, especially for young users. Cyberbullying, where children can be bullied by their peers or anonymous people through emails, texts and messages, is rampant.
There are also a lot of dangerous people, including bullies and predators, online. If your child owns a smartphone, chances are likely that he or she has encountered a lot of weird things online and through various social network apps. Your child needs to understand the dangers of social media and you need to have an easy way to keep tabs on them.
The use of spy gear like wireless security cameras, GPS trackers and audio surveillance has become a real need in this modern era to ensure your child’s safety. Even cell phone monitoring software can help parents and guardians keep a close eye on their loved one’s social media accounts.
Here’s how you can approach the conversation.
What You and Your Child Need to Know
In general, your child needs to have a good idea of what to expect through social media websites and apps. Your child should not add any friends on these apps that they don’t know in person. They should also avoid sending messages to people they don’t know either.
Another thing your children should understand is that anything they post on the Internet or through social media apps can be saved and found on the Internet for years later. If you are an Internet user, you’ve probably encountered this yourself with posts you made in high school and college. A child shouldn’t post anything online that they don’t want you, a teacher, or a potential employer to find.
If a child encounters something bizarre or scary online or through a social network such as an explicit site or a threatening message sent to them, they should know to come to you for help. Encourage your children to be open and upfront about what they’re doing online. That way, you’ll know exactly how to help them when they find something that makes them feel uncomfortable online.
If your child is new to using smartphones and social media apps, it may be helpful to consider installing a cellphone tracking system on their phone. That way you can see how your child uses their phone. A cellphone tracking system will give you a sense of what your child is doing on both social media networks and on the Internet. Generally, these programs provide data about activities on smartphones, even if the owner of the cellphone deletes messages. You’ll get to see what apps they are using, who they’re talking to, and where they are at all times. This can give you an easy way to know what’s going on even if your child isn’t willing to disclose what they’re doing online, making it easier than ever for you to help them navigate the dangers of social media.
If your child encounters someone they believe may be a cyberbully or a predator, don’t hesitate to take action. Generally, you’ll want to get in touch with local authorities. In the case of a cyberbully it may also help to get in touch with your child’s school as well since the cyberbully may be a fellow schoolmate. Don’t let your child handle someone who makes them feel threatened or uncomfortable on their own. Be an advocate for your child and seek help for their situation. A local authority can use information you’ve pulled up on a cellphone tracking system in order to identify the identity of a cyberbully or potential predator, making it easy for them to take action and potentially arrest the perpetrator. Harassing a minor online can be a serious crime.
The Internet and social media can be a wonderful thing. But be sure to keep a close eye on how your child uses it in order to avoid any potential tragedies down the road.