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

7 Things Teens Need To Know About Privacy And Social Media Resized Thumbnail Min

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 guidelines/rules that I had to follow, or I would lose my internet privileges for good.

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 feel the need to disclose every single piece of information, what we are feeling (good or bad), and living in an age of “transparency.” In addition, we look for approval by seeing who liked or commented on our post. 

While this may be okay for adults and businesses, other measures need to be taken for teens and young adults when it comes to privacy.

7 Tips to Keep Things Private

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

  • Choose screen names that mask your real name and identity.
  • If your child is just starting out on social media, encourage them to start out by only having 10-20 friends (including you). This is a great way to teach them to ‘test the waters’.
  • Turn off location settings on all social media apps to protect them wherever they post.
  • 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.
  • Check all the specific privacy settings on their social media platforms and restrict who can interact with them on the specific platform. For example, set the Facebook privacy settings so only connected friends and family can see your posts. 
  • Respect each other's privacy and keep the lines of communication open.

It may seem too restrictive for teens to have all these privacy settings, especially when I was that age. I thought I had no freedom with all these rules, but nowadays I understand my parents’ thought processes. 

I understand now why they had these rules to begin with, to protect me and keep certain details private. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything. I know the teen thought process is a little different, but kids have more resources in this digital age. 

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

About Chris McManamy

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

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