Connecting through social media is exciting. Here are a few tips to help teens (& parents) stay safe online.

Times certainly have changed, haven’t they? 

For example, when I was a teenager, the closest thing we had to social media was a dial-up internet connection with America Online (AOL). 

Once I discovered the amazing world of chat rooms and instant messaging, my world changed forever. How amazing was it to be able to communicate with people not only in your town and state, but eventually all over the country, and in some cases the world? 

My parents were not too keen on the possibility of strangers knowing anything about me, so they had some set rules that I had to follow or I would lose my internet privileges.

Luckily, we can take some of the things our parents had taught us and pass this information on to our own teens. 

Social media has become almost an extension of the human body. We are so connected to the world and kids especially feel the need to overshare some information online.

While having social media accounts may be okay for adults and businesses, other measures need to be taken for teens and young adults to instill good habits and keep their privacy safe.

7 Tips to Keep Teens Safe Online

Here are some tips for teens and parents to retain as much privacy when posting on social media:

  1. Choose screen names & a profile picture that masks their real name and identity.
  2. Connect with your teen on their social media accounts. 
  3. If your child is just starting out on social media, encourage them to begin by only having 10-20 friends. This is a great way to teach them how to ‘test the waters’ with an intimate group of close friends or family.
  4. Turn off location settings on all social media apps to protect them wherever they post.
  5. Avoid the drama as much as possible. Just because you want to drag someone’s name through the mud doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Always think before posting and always be kind online.
  6. Check all privacy settings on their social media platforms and restrict who can interact with them on each platform. For example, set the Facebook privacy settings so only connected friends and family can see their posts. 
  7. Respect each other's privacy and keep the lines of communication open.

These privacy setting may seem restrictive for teens, but in the great unknown of the online world, precaution is necessary for keeping our kids safe. 

With a little guidance, parents and teens can ensure privacy is not a hindrance, but a blessing in disguise.

To learn more about popular social media apps, search our App Advisor.

About Chris McManamy

Chris McManamy is an IT professional, social media guru, & live streaming expert. 

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