There have been a lot of national news stories lately of teens and children going missing. Some of them could have been prevented had the teen or child been safer on social media. There are things that you can do as a parent to make sure that you are keeping your teen safer while they are on the social media sites that they love.
The first thing that parents should do is probably the most obvious thing that parents can do. Make sure that your teen’s privacy settings on their social media accounts are as private as they can be. This way only the people they approve can see their page. There are criminals who will look around on social media sites for teens who do not have enough privacy settings on their account.
Make sure your teen understands that when they receive a friend request they can accept it as long as they know the person. If they do not know the person who is friend requesting them then they should not accept the request at all. The person requesting being friends could be one of those criminals looking to get access to a teen’s social media account.
Parents need to talk to their children about what it is that they post on their social media sites. They should explain to them what it is that is appropriate and what is not. They should never put any personal information on their sites, and they should never post anything about leaving town or being home alone. You do not want a criminal to figure out how to view their site and see that information and go from there.
Make sure that any photos or videos that they want to put on their social media sites do not compromise their safety or integrity in any way at all. You do not want to give someone the wrong impression of you. While you think you know people really well, sometimes they can surprise you and giving them the wrong idea is almost like a go ahead to surprise you.
Talk to them about passwords. Passwords need to be very strong and should never be given out, not even to their best friend. If they use an easy password it will be very easy for someone to hack into their account and steal their personal information. If the wrong person were to do that, they could have their identity stolen, no one wants this.
Parents and children should always keep an open dialog about social media. It is not a bad idea for the parents to be on the same social media sites and be friends with their kids so they can see what it is they are posting. This will help them see if their child is posting something that risks their safety or identity. If you as a parent do find they posted something they should not have posted, you can then talk to them about why they should not have posted it, and then have them remove it.
This is something all parents need to be on top of. The internet and social media sites are full of people who want to steal identities or do something that they should not do. Criminals are everywhere, even people you know can surprise you. Teens should always use caution when it comes to their social media accounts. It is always better to be safe than sorry, even when online.
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