The youth of today are more social media savvy than ever. They are able to navigate their way from their preferred pages to being exposed to what they shouldn’t be seeing. They tend to underestimate how easy it is to have their personal information accessed online. With the rapid use of the internet and social media, the possibility of potential harm that young people face increases daily. The most common focus has been on emerging types of violence related to social media, such as cyberbullying, sexual predation, grooming and harassment.
As soon as your child begins to use the internet, it’s important to explain your expectations to them, especially when it comes to safety measures. Listed below are tips on keeping our children safe while they’re using social media.
Encourage your child to avoid sharing private information, such as their name, phone numbers and home address.
Your child should also avoid responding to any strangers online or opening mails, files or web pages from people they don’t know or trust.
Advise your child to make use of privacy settings on all social media sites.
Most importantly, encourage your child to tell an adult when something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable.
“The effects that cyberbullying has on a child’s self-confidence, sense of belonging and the right to protection are not only compromised but also have disastrous consequences. It is our responsibility to protect our children against those risks. Knowledge is power and if you inform your child of the dangers and encourage them to be open about it, it can help change and save a child’s life,” says Nadine Visser, Pick n Pay School Club platform manager at HDI Youth Marketeers, a youth market specialist agency.