Apps have taken over many aspects of our lives. We have apps to turn our furnace up and down, to offer driving directions and to let us know our children have made it home safely from school.
If you have a smart phone, chances are it is loaded with apps (applications) that make your life easier, safer and even more fun. An issue with apps and the Internet in general though, is that your children have access to online groups and pages that, just ten years ago, they didn’t. While apps can keep them safe such as LifeFone’s Mobile Alert, they can also help you make certain your children are safe when they are online.
How can you make certain your children are being safe online? Here are some ways:
- Ask them to let you know what social media sites they use and what social media apps they have on their phones. If your child is on Facebook, you should be their “friend” there.
- Explain to them the levels of privacy they can have on their social media pages and apps and make certain they are set to the highest levels. Children should only be showing their updates and photos to those with them they are connected… not friends of friends of friends.
- Do any of the apps your children have on their phones have “geo-locator” capabilities? If so, they should be turned off so they aren’t unintentionally sharing their location.
- If they are being bullied online, make certain they talk with you about it immediately.
- Make certain your child cannot be “tagged” in posts or photos by others.
- Make certain they/you have to approve photos and updates before they are added to their timelines.
- Ensure your children are not forming friendships with individuals on line that you don’t know. Individuals can present themselves differently online and could lead to dangerous situations for your child.
It is important for parents to keep open lines of dialogue with their children. You should set expectations early on about staying connected and involved in your child’s online lives.