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Health Information For Parents
Most teens use some form of social media and have a profile on a social networking site. Many visit these sites every day.
There are plenty of good things about social media — but also many risks and things kids and teens should avoid. They don’t always make good choices when they post something to a site, and this can lead to problems.
So it’s important to talk with your kids about how to use social media wisely.
Social media can help kids:
The flipside is that social media can be a hub for things like cyberbullying and questionable activities. Without meaning to, kids can share more online than they should.
This can make them easy targets for online predators and others who might mean them harm.
In fact, many teens say they have:
Besides problems like cyberbullying and online predators, kids also can face the possibility of a physical encounter with the wrong person. Many newer apps automatically reveal the poster’s location when they’re used. This can tell anyone exactly where to find the person using the app.
And photos, videos, and comments made online usually can’t be taken back once they’re posted. Even when a teen thinks something has been deleted, it can be impossible to completely erase it from the Internet.
Posting an inappropriate photo can damage a reputation and cause problems years later — such as when a potential employer or college admissions officer does a background check. And sending a mean-spirited text, even as a joke, can be very hurtful to someone else and even taken as a threat.
Spending too much time on social media can be a downer too. Seeing how many “friends” others have and the pictures of them having fun can make kids feel bad about themselves or like they don’t measure up to their peers.
It’s important to be aware of what your kids do online. But snooping can alienate them and damage the trust you’ve built together. The key is to stay involved in a way that makes your kids understand that you respect their privacy but want to make sure they’re safe.
Tell your kids that it’s important to:
Consider making a “social media agreement” with your kids — a real contract they can sign. In it, they agree to protect their own privacy, consider their reputation, and not give out personal information. They also promise not to use technology to hurt anyone else through bullying or gossip.
In turn, parents agree to respect teens’ privacy while making an effort to be part of the social media world. This means you can “friend” and observe them, but don’t post embarrassing comments or rants about messy rooms.
Parents also can help keep kids grounded in the real world by putting limits on media use. Keep computers in public areas in the house, avoid laptops and smartphones in bedrooms, and set some rules on the use of technology (such as no devices at the dinner table).
And don’t forget: Setting a good example through your own virtual behavior can go a long way toward helping your kids use social media safely.
The Internet is a wonderful resource, but access to it has its hazards for kids. Here’s how to make sure your kids go online safely.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child’s life.
Sexting could haunt a teen for the rest of his or her life. Here’s what parents need to know.
The virtual world is full of opportunities to interact with people around the world. It’s also a place where nothing is temporary. Here are some tips for safeguarding your online identity.
Sending and receiving messages late at night can disrupt your sleep and leave you tired and unfocused when it’s time for school.
You’ve heard the warnings about texting and driving, but it’s also risky to text and walk. Read our tips for safe texting.
Find out what the experts have to say.
TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment, but too much plugged-in time can have unhealthy side effects.
Online, just like in the real world, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Here’s how kids can stay safe on the Internet.
Using technology to bully is a problem that’s on the rise. The good news is awareness of how to prevent cyberbullying is growing even faster. See our tips on what to do.
Whether it’s protecting yourself from hackers or cyberbullies, these tips for teens will help you navigate the digital world safely.
Just like other kinds of bullying, sexual bullying is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. Find out how to recognize sexual bullying and harassment and what to do.
Not sure how much screen time is appropriate for your big kid? Get advice here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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