Now we are going to look at pre-teens or children between the ages of 9-12 roughly. We have created 10 internet safety tips for pre-teens knowing they have expectations and challenges that are different from young children and older teens teens. Pre-teens have one foot in childhood and the next foot is stretching to be a teenager. They are in-between so they constantly switch back and forth. They all want cellphones and to be on Facebook yet many times they find themselves in situations where they are just not mature enough or do not have the experience to make the right decisions in social situations. This list of internet safety tips was designed with pre-teens in mind.
Children did not create cell phones, computers, or digital tablets. Technology was designed by adults for adults not for children. That is why there is a law requiring children to be 13 to obtain an account. Technology is a tool yet many pre-teens view it as a fun way to spend time not realizing the consequences. This is the age when pre-teens begin to experiment using social media. Just like riding a bike, learning multiplication, or learning a new sport, they need guidance and supervision. They need someone to show them how to use social media. That is where you can provide guidance. If you keep this list of 10 internet safety tips for pre-teens visible it will serve as a reminder about what they should do when they are in doubt.
Below you will find the steps for keeping your children safe while using social platforms. They apply to all platforms: Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Instagram. These suggestions will help you monitor your children and provide guidance.
10 Safety Tips For Using Social Media
- Participate in signing up for an account. Children do not experience with filling out questionnaires. This is one of the many places where they give away too much information. Every social platform wants as much of your child’s information that they are willing to give them. Social sites, like Facebook, will ask for your child’s phone number but do you think Facebook is going to call you? No. Children should never, ever, give their phone number over the Internet. This is why you need to help them sign up for an account.
- Use parental controls Before you leave the mobile phone store ask them to show you where the parental controls are. I also recommend monitoring software that will send you an alert about profanity, sexting, or new friends your child may not know. It cost between 5-10 a month.
- Keep your child’s profile set to private Check this often to make sure your child has not switched this to public. This is one of the ways strangers find your children online.
- Do not allow a webcam Children are vulnerable and webcams make it possible for private conversations in chat rooms, sexting, talks with strangers, and children can become overly concerned about their social appearance on the camera. Webcams are not for children.
- Friend your child on every platform Make sure you join everything they join. Ask them to show you how to use it if you do not know.
- Tell your child you will be monitoring their activities If your children know you are going to be watching they are going to think twice about what they do online. It’s okay to be a “peeping parent.”
- Apps cannot be used without your approval This is another way children give away information and run up big bills when making in-app purchases.
- Turn off tagging and geo location If the geo-location is turned on, your child can be located within 39 inches of where they are standing. Predators have software that helps them locate people in photos.
- Stay positive everyone can see your wall Teach your children the golden rule of posting. “Post about others the way you would want to be posted about.” Remind them the Internet is for positive exchange of ideas.
10. Every entry is a permanent record so avoid digital dirt Every one of us leaves information about ourselves online. We do it on security cameras, photos, medical records, airline reservations, and online purchases. Everything we write on the blogs, websites, Facebook, or emails leaves a permanent trail. Just like a tattoo it makes a lasting impression that can never be erased. Teach your children, “When in doubt, leave it out.”
It is important at this age to sit down and have a family discussion about your house rules for posting on the Internet. This is the second installment in our series on 10 Internet Safety and Security tips. Stay tuned for the next list which will deal with internet safety for teens. Be sure and share this list with other parents!