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Social Media and kids, some thoughts

Having some conversations with new parents lately, the topic came around the time when their kids will start using the social media. We all agreed that their kids will be internet users very fast and unavoidably, social media users too. Then, considering that social media can be dangerous for kids, we started talking about what social media could do to help parents at least monitor thei kids' activity on social media and some interesting ideas came to the table.

Some proposals on social media features

As a parent, you'd need to know what your kid is doind within facebook. For instance, it would be nice to know to whom your kid is connected ( ok, maybe this is already there based on the privacy settings ) or set up your kid's privacy settings overriding their account giving more priority to your when you are the parent. Another thing you can do is to be notified by facebook on activity your kids do for the first time, for instance, when they start a converstation with someone for the first time. Same thing can happen for each new friend they make.

Of course, your kid soon enough will find out how to set up a new facebook account and bypass all that. Also, they may understand a way to figure out how to disabe those parental controls for their account. The whole idea here is to enable those features until the kids come at age, find out how to work around those or disable them. Until then, maybe your guidance will be highly important so to know what is going on with your kid inside i.e. facebook.

Why are those important?

Because there have already been occasions when the social media life of a kid turned to be dangerous for their life. Think of recent examples of kids trying to commit suicide due to conversations or social media life problems. As a parent, yes you need to monitor your kid all the time. The suggestions that came during our talk, were about the first steps in those social media only.

The best way to go about this though, still is to talk to your kid, to let him/her know what can go wrong, what to pay attention too. Maybe sit down and open up a facebook account for your kid ( and set up their privacy at this point so to protect them at least ).

If you want, you can go more aggresively

Yes, you can install keyloggers to your kid's computer to find out the password, install parental control problems and much more. Soon your kid will request a smartphone and will be browsing the internet via that, where its very difficult to set up such control applications. So here goes the monitoring issue. On the other hand, if the platforms had such monitoring tools, then your control and monitoring over your kid's social accounts, would be more organic.

Problems rising up

First, spying on your kid may not be the best thing to do. Explaining to your kid may be the better path, but scientists are to elaborate on that. One problem can be that your kid will soon find out, then another problem can be that our kid will find out how to bypass or disable those controls. Also, your kid may open up a new account easily. Another problem is how to make sure that this user is your kid and not someone else's.

All of the above, make the scenario of applying parental monitoring into social media platforms, very very hard. Of course some of those features would be great to have, at least in the early stages of your childrens' social lives, but all of those would have an expiration date. Surely, there is no way your kids do not explore those social platforms, we've done that as kids too.

So what can the "solution" be?

Our thought was that talking to your children is the best way to go about the internet and social media and what your kid should pay attention to when browsing those media. Making your kid know what can go wrong, may be a game changer when they later browse the internet and social media sites.


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