Your child and social networks

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Whether you agree or disagree, the term „communication” has changed enormously in the eyes of our children over the past decade. They are much less willing to call or meet up, but are constantly available on social networks. When it comes to children aged 11 to 14, depending on the company they are with and, to some extent, local law, your son or daughter may want to set up an account on Facebook or NK.pl. As you are the parent, you are responsible for how your child’s online life develops.

Forbidding never works

Some parents will wait until a special occasion, such as reaching the age of 16 or some other important event, and then allow their child to register on social networks. This idea is not quite right, because the teenager – not wanting to be worse – will do it when his peers do. If you put a strict ban on social networks, your child will use them secretly. You don’t want this. Remember, if you can’t beat something, you can join it.

Many possibilities

If you keep your home computer in your guest room and you think that you have your child’s online activity under control, you’ve probably forgotten about smartphones, tablets, school computers, TVs, gaming consoles, and maybe even refrigerators. All these devices allow you to stay in touch with friends. Smartphones are by far the most common communication tool. It comes with a lot of dangerous things that you and your baby need to know.

The main communication tool is the smartphone. Take this into account when making the rules together.

Taking care of privacy

When you look at your computer monitor, it’s hard to imagine that you are just a few clicks away from the billions of people on the Internet. Among them there are all kinds of fraudsters, trolls with bad intentions, and even more dangerous people – pedophiles. To protect your child from them, you need to teach them the rules of surfing the Internet, which are just as important as road safety. The rules are simple: we don’t reveal our name, school or whereabouts, and immediately report disturbing conversations to parents or law enforcement. A parent must carefully monitor any content that their child publishes on the Web. Posting photos and videos is the biggest mistake: besides providing visual cues about the child’s location from the photo, they often also offer location coordinates added by default by modern smartphones. This feature must be turned off on the child’s mobile device.

The main rule

The biggest mistake of children and adults is that being online is just a game. When you cannot see the interlocutor or the characteristics of the conversation (gestures, body language, intonation, or facial expressions), it’s easy to believe that the conversation is not „for real” and encourages the use of many unwanted words. The second biggest mistake is not understanding the scope and importance of words spoken on the internet. Many people, both famous and lesser known, and many robots can see the conversation. For this reason, it is wise to explain to a teenager that what is not being said online is not being said in person or in public. Only those who adhere to this rule are ripe for surfing unsupervised social networks. Simply put: „Written can be more dangerous than spoken” or „Every word and action is seen by others.”

Do not say online what you would not say in person or in public.

Create clear regulations

Even if you are absolutely sure that your child has understood all the rules, as a parent you should check the practice from time to time. But don’t do it secretly; it would be ideal for you to make a deal with your child about how to keep your finger on the pulse. Maybe he will reveal to you the password for his social media profile, add you as a friend or agree to install special parental control software.? Configured the right way, it could be the most comfortable option for both parties. A good quality solution allows you to activate only in certain circumstances (for example, after detecting a keyword, without having to dig through the entire correspondence). In addition, it is very good to consider the topic in a broader framework and remember about Internet access on other devices, as well as determine possible consequences, e.g. a complete ban on using a mobile phone for serious offenses. Of course, it’s not worth overdoing it. The policy of using the Internet should be well balanced and not limit the child’s online freedom when it does not cause problems.

Beware of bullying

One of the most dangerous things that happens to teenagers on social networks is bullying online by their peers (henceforth professionally referred to as 'cyberbullying'). This problem differs from school in two respects: online harassment does not stop with the start of the class and continues, and the lack of personal contact with the attacker can make him feel unpunished. Unfortunately, sometimes things go like an avalanche and the attacker engages in more and more disgusting forms of harassment: he breaks the child’s password and publishes something undesirable on his account, posts personal photos on the Internet to humiliate the victim in the eyes of colleagues, and reveals his secrets. This kind of harassment is shocking for the parents themselves, and what about a lost teenager? Therefore, when you have any doubts about your child’s feelings, or if you see that he has started to avoid you or is behaving differently than usual, try to find out more about the situation so that you can stop the harassment if necessary. Start with – often the most effective and simple – simple honest conversation. In many countries, there are special organizations to help parents deal with situations when a loved one is harassed. But even if you have nowhere to turn, there is one more path that will likely give you a direct solution: go to school and ask the principal for help. In some cases, your child may be the attacker. Then your reaction should be immediate and decisive. You must explain to your child that bullying can be dangerous and serious, even by mentioning situations

Together on the Web

The best way to maintain a good relationship with your child when starting their adventure with the world of the Internet is to do something together. Help him set up a Facebook account and set the right level of privacy . Be aware and read industry information (e.g. on our blog). On the other hand, ads displayed on websites that are matched based on search queries can help you find out exactly what your teen was searching for on Google. Teenagers really care about their privacy, so when their parents play with them on the same team, they are much more comfortable traveling the virtual kilometers.