We hear news story after news story about cyberbullying, online child predators, and others with malicious intent lurking around every corner. Sure, there are risks, and practicing safe online usage is essential, but most of the time the benefits of the Internet far outweigh the potential hazards.
In today’s post, we’re debunking some common myths about your child’s safety online, and we’ll fill you in on the real truths of each situation.
MYTH #1: Social media transforms kids into bullies.
TRUTH: Social media is just another outlet for bullying — it doesn’t turn kids into bullies. Most kids who engage in online bullying are also often bullies at school and usually have another reason for acting out, like family issues, school problems, etc. The most productive thing to do is for parents and teachers to educate themselves about the warning signs of bullying so that they can step-in before the behavior goes too far.
MYTH #2: Never post photos of your children on social media — it’s too dangerous!
TRUTH: By using the appropriate privacy settings, you can post pictures AND keep your children safe. To ensure that your kids remain safe & protected, (1) use privacy settings that limit your posts’ reach to only family and trusted friends, (2) limit your audience by using photo-share sites that require a login to see pictures, like Flickr, and (3) don’t tag or identify your children in the photos.
MYTH #3: Strict parental control setting are the best way to protect your children online.
TRUTH: Using just one measure for online security gives you a false sense of safety. Parental controls are just one piece of the puzzle, you also need to openly discuss online safety precautions with your children, share the risks of being online, establish agreed-upon rules, and encourage your children to be both responsible and respectful when online.
This post was inspired by this article.