Should You Monitor Your Child’s Social Media?
As a parent, it can be difficult to decide how much we should monitor our children. From online conversations to pictures, social media has given us all a deep look into other people’s lives. But it can be challenging to figure out how much freedom to give children regarding social media.
You should monitor your child’s social media. Kids may not understand the harm of sharing pictures and personal information that anyone can access. Monitoring their online activity can help you keep them and their information safe.
Let’s explain why this is so important and what to look out for.
Why You Should Monitor Your Child’s Social Media
Knowing that you need to keep an eye on your child’s social media presence, let’s talk about why it is vital to keep them safe.
Blocking Inappropriate Content
One major reason that parents should consider monitoring their child’s social media is to block inappropriate content. Unfortunately, there is plenty of inappropriate content available on social media that your child may encounter during their time on any platform.
The tough thing about blocking inappropriate content is that we don’t have to search for it to show up. Also, inappropriate content doesn’t always have to contain nudity or inappropriate words. Some content may just be too mature for your child to fully understand. This can encourage negative behavior if not monitored.
Inappropriate content may scare your child or make them consider harmful actions. So, it is best to catch this as quickly as you can. By monitoring their content, you can see what they see and ensure they don’t come across anything that may harm them.
Even if they do see something inappropriate, monitoring the content will help you be aware of it and have conversations about it with your child. If you can see what they come across, you can better discuss the inappropriate content and why it is inappropriate.
If your child has access to social media, they will come into contact with purchases. Kids can easily come across reasons to spend money on social media, whether it is an ad on their page or even an in-app game.
Depending on which device they use, you may already have your payment information saved. This can make it very easy for kids to spend money on apps and other things without asking or even fully realizing what they are doing. Passwords can help with this, but you may not be able to catch everything without monitoring what they do.
One major problem with spending is that you may not always be able to get your money back from whatever company your child paid. Some companies may agree to work with you, but they may not always agree to refund you, especially if you received what your child paid for.
So, prevent this by regularly monitoring what your child does on social media and make sure they avoid ads and games that may charge money. Otherwise, you may be stuck paying for something you won’t even use.
In trying to keep your child safe on social media, you should know the threat of stranger danger is just as real there as it is outside. With children using social media more and more at younger ages, it can be difficult to completely shield them from potential dangers.
Kids are not always mature enough to protect themselves from strangers. In fact, some people specifically seek out and take advantage of children because of this. Not only are they susceptible to scams, but they may give too much personal information putting their safety at risk.
While it is important to have consistent talks with children about protecting themselves online, it is best to monitor their social media accounts to ensure their safety. At the same time, they are still young and likely to make mistakes. As adults, we understand the sinister reasons behind strangers asking for our addresses, but children may not be as suspicious of this behavior.
By monitoring your child’s social media account, you can see who they are talking to. You can review conversations to ensure they make good choices when talking to people online and help them avoid danger.
Avoid Too Much Screen Time
Parents normally agree that their children can have screen time for a certain amount of time. While we may be able to catch our kids overdoing it with screen time, it is possible that we may lose track. If you want your child to maintain a certain screen time before putting down the device, you can keep an eye on this by monitoring their device.
It is fairly simple with younger children to take away their devices when they have enough screen time. However, as children get older, they may get better at hiding how much time they spend online. If you want to better monitor this, there are plenty of ways to do it. Most phones count screen time for your weekly review.
Even if the device doesn’t count screen time for you, monitoring their social media can help you keep track. Seeing posts, likes, or activities in general past the allotted screen time can indicate that they are not following screen time rules.
Intervene in Bullying and Harassment
Bullying is something that most children deal with at some point. It can be awful whether they are on the receiving end or the one bullying. We don’t always get to know what our children do, say, or hear at school.
Nearly half of all teens in the US have experienced bullying or harassment online. Your child is very likely to experience bullying or bully someone else online, especially during their teen years. Not only is this bad for mental health, but it can also cause children to attempt to harm themselves.
Monitoring your child’s social media account can help you catch bullying before it gets out of hand. Whether your child is a bully or a victim of someone else’s bullying, catching it early can prevent it from getting out of control. So, it is important to read through messages, comments, and posts to help find bullying or harassment and stop it.
Children especially often consider bullying embarrassing. So, if it only happens at school, your child may not tell you what is happening. It is also common for bullying to escape the notice of adults at the school. Social media allows you access to these conversations without relying on someone else to tell you about them.
Children often cannot recognize a website or application that could be harmful. This makes them more susceptible to downloading something that can harm their device. As we know, not every website you visit or app you download is safe.
Even if you know exactly which social media apps your child can access, they will still be offered ads for other websites and apps. You can find this on every social media website. Your child will not be able to completely avoid seeing ads, no matter how careful you are. Social media apps can redirect your child to other websites and apps that are not safe.
These unsafe apps and websites can infect the device with a virus. Having a virus on your child’s device may not seem like a big problem, but it can lead to disaster. Not only can your device become useless to you, but it can also compromise any information on the device.
Not all apps and websites are what they seem. Instead, they may try to take advantage of your child by offering a fun game or interesting information when actually harming the device. Monitoring your child’s activity on the device can help you avoid this.
One thing your child probably is not considering when posting or commenting on social media is their reputation. The problem with having a social media presence is that once you post something online, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to completely remove it. This can affect your child for years to come.
Many companies, before hiring employees and colleges accepting students, do a quick online check. This can lead to your child not getting into the school they want or not getting a job if they find something bad. This is why it is so important to have talks with your child about the permanence of posting on the internet before allowing them on it.
If you monitor your child’s social media regularly, you are more likely to catch things like posts, comments, or pictures that may negatively impact their future reputation. If your child knows that you have access to check their social media, they may also be less likely to post harmful or dangerous things.
How to Monitor Your Child’s Social Media
By now, you already know how important it is to monitor your child’s social media. However, you may not be sure how to go about it. After all, you can’t keep an eye on the screen all the time, and not all apps show a reliable history of the things your child read or saw.
That’s why your best bet is to use monitoring software like Wolfeye. Wolfeye allows you to see what’s happening on your child’s PC live, at any time. It can also take regular screenshots that you can check later. And don’t worry, the software is completely invisible to your child.
What to Do if You Notice Something Bad on Your Child’s Social Media
Now that we know why it is so important to watch what your child posts on social media, let’s discuss what to do with this information.
Talk About It
First, you should always use this as an opportunity to talk to your child. While the conversation may not always be comfortable or wanted on their part, it is necessary. We recommend having an open discussion with your child about whatever you witnessed on their social media.
Of course, this may not always go well, as children may have trouble opening up about what happened. However, you should still talk with them about it and ask them questions regarding what you saw. Hopefully, this will lead to an open discussion about the topic. If it doesn’t, it will at least let your child know that you are there to help and support them.
Talking to your child about what you saw may not be enough depending on what happened. In addition to conversations, you may need to act on whatever you see. This may involve deleting harmful posts or comments, removing pictures, or even reporting what you saw to the police in some drastic cases.
If your child simply came across some harmful content, you may be unable to delete it. In this case, you should report harmful content to the social media website in an attempt to get it removed. This will help your child avoid seeing it again and can even prevent other kids from seeing it as well.
Comfort and Make a Plan
Once you remove or report the problem, you should comfort your child and make a plan going forward. If your child saw something scary or upsetting, they may need some time to react to what they have seen. Make sure you comfort them during these times.
While we may encounter similar information every day, your child is most likely not used to seeing that type of content. It may be no big deal to us, but it can affect our children more. Make sure they are not afraid of what they see and take the time to comfort them. This can help them avoid a long-lasting impact.
In addition to comforting them, you should devise a plan for your child going forward. Have your child come to you if they see something similar again, or help them learn to avoid that type of content if possible. Coming up with a plan for the future can help your child feel better about going back on social media and better foster your communication with them.
If your child knows what to do when faced with something similar in the future, it can help them stay safer, avoid scams, and feel better about consulting with you about these dangers. It can also help them not have to learn the hard way that social media can be dangerous for them at times.
You should always monitor your child’s social media. Unfortunately, our children often do not understand the danger they face on certain websites. So, it is our job to protect them, and the best way to do this is to monitor their activity on social media.
Remember to use this monitoring to foster important conversations with them about things like privacy, identity theft, stranger danger, and other obstacles they may face online.