While most social media apps require users to be over 13, that hasn’t stopped many young children from opening accounts, according to a new study.
The recently released CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Child Health Survey found that 49% of parents aged 10 to 12 and 32% of parents of children aged 7 to 9 report that their child uses social media.
Additionally, not all parents monitor their child’s activities on these apps due to a variety of factors ranging from lack of ability to configure controls to lack of time.
“The use of social media represents a number of potential threats to the safety of children. With more and more children using social media at a younger age, it is essential that parents keep them safe and teach them to be responsible users of digital and social media, ”said Michele Havner, Director of Marketing at Eturi Corp., maker of OurPact, a leading parental control and screen time app.
Does your child use social media? Not sure? According to Havner, here are some ways to protect them on social media apps and other sites:
• Open communication: Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Listening and being respectful will encourage your child to be honest with you about their use of social media and what they encounter online.
• Define the parameters: Whether it’s just allowing your child to use educational social media apps or enforcing a strict moratorium until they reach a certain age, set settings that make sense for your child and respect them.
• Define a schedule: Don’t let digital devices invade your family life. Establishing a digital schedule can help ensure that children still have time for homework, after-school activities, and quality time with family. Make sure you practice what you preach and set the right digital example.
• Proceed with caution: Before letting your child create an account with a particular social media app, take a close look at what the app is to make sure it’s suitable for their age group and individual maturity level.
• Get help: A parental control app like OurPact can help you set a digital schedule, block inappropriate apps and websites, set safety filters, and even get screenshots of digital activity.
No matter how busy you are, new enhancements make it easier for your child to master social media use. With the ability to create individual profiles, you can customize the rules based on your child’s age and other considerations. To learn more, visit ourpact.com.
“While many school systems are adding digital safety and wisdom to the curriculum, parents should fill in the gaps by introducing kids to smart digital habits and leveraging new tools and resources that help keep kids safe,” Havner says.