Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, and whatever they are called – social media is now just as much a part of everyday life as the trivia questions on family weeknight dinners. Children in particular are rarely able to correctly assess the effects and dangers of the new medium.
Sure, the simplest solution is to simply prohibit your kids from using their smartphone. But this is, firstly, pedagogically rather weak and, secondly, pointless. Then the little ones surf the web on the school or library computer or on their friend’s smartphone. It is better if you stick to a few tips.
Tips for parents
Be a role model
Why should your child forego social media when you are constantly on the smartphone yourself? Sure, making an appointment in the WhatsApp group is important, but do you really have to send a cat picture to your friend?
You can’t explain anything to your children that you don’t use or understand yourself. So before you blow the whole internet to hell, deal with it yourself. Take a look at the apps your kids are using instead of scolding new things.
Many social media platforms offer you the opportunity to set up a parent account and, under it, to manage child accounts with restricted usage options. In this way, you are at least partially in control.
No photos, no real names
The best way to protect your little ones from strangers is to make it clear to them that they should always alienate their names on the web and never have a photo of themselves in their profile.
Talk, talk and talk again
The most important tip is of course: talk to your children. Don’t just forbid them to use their smartphones, it just makes them curious. Instead, educate them about the dangers. Explain to them that the virtual world only depicts the real world, but does not replace it. Make sure they become proficient in using the new media. Because you cannot always isolate your children from all the dangers out there. However, it is up to you that they always treat them responsibly when they encounter them.