A growing number of teenagers no longer uses Facebook as the one and only site for social networking.. According to a Common Sense Media article written by Polly Conway, teens are now choosing an array of different websites and apps for different purposes. Friending your child on Facebook is no longer an effective tool to help you keep up with your child’s online social life. So what can you as a parent do?
Above all, foster a strong, trusting relationship with your child and check the online world out together. Talk, talk, and talk a little more…. Explain why or why not… Agree on online do’s and don’ts and establish appropriate consequences for non-compliance. And here are a few tips on the technical side:
- Know which applications are on your child’s phone, tablet, or computer. On occasion, open them up and look around. At the same time, check the browser history of all browsers. Tip: If there is no browser history, your child might be browsing ‘incognito’. This is a good time to have a non-confrontational conversation.
- Ask for passwords to all of your child’s social media and email accounts and ‘check in’ periodically. You are not snooping, nor are you betraying her trust if she knows that you are going to monitor.
- Make sure that you, the parent, installs all apps, paid or free. Kids should not have the ability to put any new apps on their phones and tablets. If you need help, feel free to contact me.
- Keep current! Do you know what social media apps are out there and what they are used for? Common Sense Media is a great site to help you stay abreast of the ever changing online world.
Finally, here is a list of some currently popular social media apps/sites:
Kik Messenger, ooVoo, WhatsApp
Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine
Yik Yak, Secret - Speak Freely, Whisper, Snapchat
Chatting, meeting, dating:
MeetMe, Omegle, Skout, Tinder
For more information on what you should know, please read about these 15 Sites and Apps Kids are Heading to After Facebook on the Common Sense Media blog. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. ~ Margit Lanze