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How to teach children about social media

Teach children about social media

Children are confronting their parents with the desire to use WhatsApp, Snapchat and TikTok and Co. As a parent, you shouldn’t allow a social media profile to be hastily – and always keep an eye on it. Because the net never forgets. Our guide explains how to teach children about social media dangers, with nine tips on how to accompany your child in the digital world. 

Ⅰhr Child wants a Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok profile? Then you have probably already heard the argument: “Almost everyone in my class is allowed to do this!”. The pressure among peers is great. You don’t have to ban your child’s profile, but you can and should encourage it in dealing with social networks. Children need social media support, whether they like it or not. Because what is posted, shared and liked is visible to others. Even years later. With these tips, you can help your child keep the image positive on the web.

Teach children about social media: 9 tips

1. Because not everything used to be better

Be curious and avoid the argument “In the past, all this was possible without it!”. Of course, this used to be done without (even earlier you could wash the laundry without a machine). Today, children grow up in a world where digital media are becoming increasingly important. You can’t reach your children by arguing that “everything used to be better.” Be open and curious to know that they can ask you for advice on questions and problems with digital media. 

2. Set up access together

Sign up with your child. If you want to allow your child an app like TikTok, sign up right away. Look at the privacy settings and discuss them with your child. An important note: When creating an account, you should make sure that you use an email account that you and your child have access to. Too often a password is forgotten. You can have it reset by e-mail. In order not to be spamted by unnecessary promotional emails, it may be worthwhile to set up a second email address, which you only use for account registrations.

3. Protect privacy

Public or private? The dream of many children is to become as famous as their stars on TikTok and Instagram. If you want to make it to the relevant #foryou pages, you have to refrain from having a private profile. Of course, the posts must also have a good quality. Talk to your child about why “Fame” is so important to them on the Internet, when you teach children about social media. Discuss together how famous Youtubers protect their privacy. What is the difference when you are public with 50 subscribers from the surrounding area versus 50,000 from all over the world? Can your own subscribers find out more or too much about me? These are important thought processes that must be guided in the child. If you combine these arguments with those from point 1, you will also be able to promote a little more privacy protection.

4. Who do I post for?

What can be posted where? Whether your child has a public or private profile, they need to think about who they post for where, what, and how. Who sees my Whatsapp status messages? Who can see my story on Instagram? How do I protect myself from negative comments? In addition to the settings you discuss with your child under point 2, it’s also about finding out what the pre- and night parts of each social media platform are. Of course, every post must also respect the right to one’s own image and copyright.

5. The right profile picture

Be careful with the profile pictures! Profile images are publicly visible in most cases. In addition, even if Whatsapp does not allow only contacts to see the profile picture, it may be that the settings are changed without your knowledge during an update. Sometimes it’s new terms of use that even adults can’t read through, let alone understand. But in order to continue using the app, you have to agree to it. It is worth the general handling here: Profile pictures should be chosen in such a way that it does not bother anyone if they can be found via search services such as Google.

6. Eliminate inappropriate likes

Spring cleaning on social media: On all social media networks there is the possibility to like content of others (at TikTok and Instagram with hearts, on Facebook it is the thumb). Such likes are or can become visible. New tools are also coming onto the market that allow you to watch likes from people you are not friends with or from public profiles. That’s why you should regularly go through your social media profiles and eat out: What did I like in the past? Would that be embarrassing if my boss, my girlfriend, my partner would see a teacher? Young people are often very negligent in liking. They scroll through their Instagram feed and like everything from their friends – without having looked closely at what the content of the meme, saying, video or image is. However, a Like can have legal consequences. Talk to your children about it. You can also easily delete old profiles. Therefore, think of the valid e-mail address that it needs.

7. Googling yourself

What does the Internet know about you or your child? Search for yourself and your child regularly through search services like Google. Best with “First Name Last Name” and “First Name Last Name Residence”. Via the imprint, you can contact the site operator if you want a picture to be deleted by you. In addition, it is also worth searching your own usernames. What pictures can be found? You have a right to be forgotten on the Internet. Google has set up support. It is not controllable which persons have already saved this picture or video for themselves. Therefore, at the latest after the first painful experience: think first, then post.

8. Changing perspective

What could a future employer think of you or your child? Try to imitate another stranger with your child who takes a look at the hits. What impression would the person have of their child? Does it want to be perceived as “fame-addicted”? Could the hashtag “School is to joke” give a negative image?

9. Actively ensure good search results

Take your own digital image into your own hands! Help your child create a good picture of themselves on the Internet. Young people in the first and second high school are often embarrassed by the club activities from primary school. But it is precisely these that can be decisive in the search for a job. Therefore, support your child. May it even be a dedicated website with a full name and selected information that appears relatively high up when searching (as described in point 7)? We cannot prevent everything that appears on the net of us – but we can actively provide a good picture.

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