A military family turns to its Family Assistance Program (FAP) in times of need. From new parent support to child abuse assistance and counseling, there’s an endless amount of situations where a FAP can step in with resources and reinforcements. A FAP’s mission is to promote and maintain readiness and resilience in Service members and their families – and this includes safe navigation of the digital world. Children, and even some parents, who are new to social media can benefit from some social media safety tips to know how to proceed in potentially harmful situations.
Educate Parents on Social Media Safety
Using social media is entertaining and a form of creative expression, but not everyone uses these platforms in the right way. There are dangers that lurk online that children aren’t equipped or mature enough to handle. Parents should know what their children are doing online, what social media accounts they regularly use and how to help them manage the digital landscape.
Apart from serious issues such as cyberbullying, catfishing and sexual predators, parents should also understand the hazards of too much screen time and how it can affect a child’s health and development. A FAP can provide guidelines and techniques that will ensure a safe trip on the information superhighway.
Digital Do’s and Dont’s
With the abundance of social media platforms out there, it can be tough to keep up with the evolving technology. The following are some social media safety tips that can assist parents and caregivers when it comes to managing their children’s online behaviors:
Advise children to tell a parent, caregiver or other trusted adult if something they see online makes them uncomfortable or if they are sent harassing or unwanted messages.
Remind children to protect their reputation and to avoid any reckless behavior that can come back to haunt them later on in their lives.
Educate children on the proper use of privacy and security settings. Create strong passwords and never share them with anyone.
Encourage them to stop and think before sending, sharing or retweeting harmful or offensive messages.
Alert children to the dangers of clicking on links that advertise free stuff. These could come from cybercriminals trying to steal personal information.
Urge children to refrain from cyberbullying. It’s important to always be courteous online and refrain from being a troll.
Warn them not to meet people they don’t know in person and to think twice about adding people they don’t know to a “friends” list.
Discourage them from posting anything they wouldn’t want everyone to see, including family members, teachers and friends.
Technology moves at a lightning-fast pace and children are exposed to it at younger and younger ages. Help members of your military community understand the risks and prepare their children for issues they may face as they grow up in an increasingly digital world. For more information and tips on social media safety for kids, visit the Children Welfare Information Gateway.
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