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How to Keep Your Child Safe on Social Media 

So, how can you teach your child independence and autonomy while ensuring that their identity and safety aren’t at risk? 

The good news – it’s all about communication, setting boundaries, and bonding with your child – which is the core of Howtotalk!  

Check out our top 5 tips to ensure that your child can safely enjoy social media. 

  1. Create an account together. Start with one platform to learn and explore together. Get curious – for yourself and your child. Learn how the platform works, the privacy settings, how others can find you, and how you communicate with the outside world.  

  2. Explain the negative aspects of social media. Make sure your child is aware of the bad things that can happen on social media – cyberbullying, sexting, and identity theft are all too common problems these days. Keep the conversation age-appropriate but make sure they have the information and tools to keep themselves safe while browsing, engaging, and posting. 

  3. Instagram vs. Reality. Teach your child about the difference between what is real and what is curated on social media. It is so easy to get swept away in what one “should” be doing rather than what is actually happening. Be open and candid with your child about filters, financial reality, and FOMO so your child can build a realistic and personalized vision of how their life is. 

  4. Set a good example. By setting realistic boundaries – and following them yourself – you can give your child a healthy view of social media. Remember that your child will mirror your actions and is ALWAYS watching you. They’ll notice what you post, how long you spend on various platforms, and what you’re looking at… So, make sure it’s appropriate and you’re leading by example.

  5. Be nice! We live in a world where your online presence and real-world persona are intertwined. It’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their children to show up in a kind and empathetic way online – just as they would in person. A good way to think about it… “Would you that to their face?” If the answer is no, then explain to your child why it is not ok to say it online – that it’s a form of cyberbullying. 

Reminder: There are great aspects of social media too! 

While there are some off-putting situations and people out in the digital universe, social media has plenty of benefits as well. If you only focus on the negative, your child might start to fear social media or not involve you with what they’re up to on there – so keep in mind all the good parts too, and use it as a fun time to explore something new with your child.  

Want to know about social media or managing screen time? 

Check out the Howtotalk podcast in the app! Both episodes offer great tips on managing both social media and screens – while continuing to build a deep connection with your child. Good luck and happy parenting!