5 Unsafe Habits Social Media Is Teaching Kids

SocialMedia25The Internet is here to stay and only expanding by the day!

The social media heyday shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, and likely will just continue to gain speed and momentum as it appeals to younger and younger audiences; however it can’t go unnoticed that the values it’s teaching our children are less than ideal, especially in regards to unsafe internet habits. As social media becomes more prevalent, so do our kids apparent lack of regard to what is considered over-sharing and what isn’t. Social media has made it completely acceptable to engage in the following less-than-safe behaviors:

1.     Checking into places – It’s become commonplace to check into places once you get there; whether it’s the gym, a restaurant, or even a different city or state from the one you reside in, you’re now able to post onto your social media sites where you are, and are even rewarded with badges for checking into places regularly. However while the badges and upgrades to “mayor of the city” may make kids feel cool, it’s also alerting anyone and everyone that they’re not at home and where you can find them, something that seems less than stellar from a safety standpoint.

2.     Posting provocative and risqué photos – Scantily clad pictures, pictures showing drug and alcohol use, and pictures of people in risqué circumstances routinely grace Facebook walls, get uploaded to Instagram, and find their way onto Twitter. All this does, however, is encourage risky behavior, prompting teens to engage in it and even challenging them to outdo their friends,as well as appealing to predators with questionable motives, making it easy for them to identify easy targets.

3.     Putting your address, phone number, and email address online – While this type of information may be posted innocently for friends and family to easily find, kids tend to forget that the internet is not a private forum, it’s very public. Posting this information makes it easy for scammers, spammers, and predators to prey on unsuspecting victims, which is why this information should never be made publicon the various social media websites.

4.     Demeaning others – Bullying others online has become the new social norm. This kind of cyber-bullying has had an overwhelming effect on kids, leaving them feeling depressed and hopeless. When kids are unable to achieve any respite from the constant demeaning of their peers the effects can be monumental, with self-mutilation, uncontrollable anger or depression, and even suicide or harming their peers being the fallout.

5.     Encouraging hazardous games – Remember the choking game that encouraged kids to hang themselves to get high? These types of dangerous games are a result of social media allowing them to spread like wildfire, and the results are often tragic because kids don’t realize how dangerous they really are until it’s too late.

Social media, while it is many wonderful things, has its drawbacks as well. The younger the audience allowed to interact on it, the more unsafe it becomes, especially because they don’t yet understand that for every action there can also be a tragic reaction. This is why it’s imperative for parents to be vigilant in teaching their kids safe internet habits and to monitor what their kids are doing online.

Online Predators: Knowing Where Your Teens are Surfing Online

“Your teen comes home from school and goes up to her bedroom, closes the door and goes online.” – ScreenRetriever

As a parent of a teenager in today’s digital society it can be difficult to keep up with the ever changing Internet.  It can be more challenging to keep your lines of communication open with your teen to insure their safety both online and off, however it is a priority for parents.

Stats parents should know:

What Parents Can Do:

  1. Self education- Learn what kids may be exposed to online – Learn what the risks are.
  2. Communitcating, educating, e-mentoring your kids about:
    • Online risks
    • Chatrooms, game site risks
    • Predators and to be aware of manipulative behavior, gifts, requests for nude pictures, grooming.
    • Predators don’t look scary, they look like you or I, or the person down the street.
    • Teaching your child that if they get in a situation that feels uncomfortable, that they should and can always come to you and that they won’t get in trouble if they do.
    • Only friend people they know on Social Networking Sites
    • Never meet someone they’ve met online without talking to an adult first.
    • Turn off webcam when not in use

3. E-mentor kids online especially when they have a computer in their bedroom. ScreenRetriever enables parents to monitor children’s computer activity live where ever the child’s computer is located in the home including who your child is communicating with using their webcam.

4. Set limits and ground rules about what your child is allowed to do online, sites they visit, information they post, who their friends are on social networking sites, who they are chatting with. Go over the ScreenRetriever tips before they are allowed on the computer.

5. Learn the language your kids use on the computer and cellphone, like A/S/L or GNOC.

6. When your child comes to you with a problem, be there for them, and don’t over react. Many kids don’t tell their parents when they have a problem online because they are afraid they will lose computer privileges.

7. Start e-mentoring early when kids go on the computer so that your family values and rules are ingrained early.

One child caught in the manipulative trap of a predator is one too many.   This can be prevented when parents “parent online” and “e-mentor”.

An added tool for assistant and protection for your teens and children, parents may want to consider ScreenRetriever.  (Watch the video).

ScreenRetriever gives you peace of mind.  Screen Retriever is the only supervising software that follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Sign up today for your free 2-week trial period.  No credit card is required for this trial period.

Need help installing it?  Yoursphere for Parents is a click away with user friendly instructions!

You can join ScreenRetriever on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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