Every day, parents go to Facebook to ask for advice in groups, share pictures of their kids or just stay connected with family in different places. And for many parents, they also have questions about how Facebook works once their kids join.
That’s why Facebook launched the Parents Portal, a new section of the Facebook Safety Centre.
Whether you have a personal account, or whether your teen has one, some basic information and tips have been compiled to help parents get the most out of the experience and help their children navigate their experience.
Parents can also get in touch with online safety experts around the world, who offer resources specifically for parents.
Let your child know the same rules apply online as apply offline:
If it’s not something you want others to do to you, don’t do it to others. Just as you might tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street or to wear a helmet while riding their bike, teach them to think before they share online.
Try to be a good role model:
The adage that children will “do as you do, not as you say” is as true online as it is offline. If you set time restrictions on when your child can use social media or be online (for example, no texting after 22h00), follow the same rules.
Data suggest parents should engage online with their children as soon as they are on social media.
Consider “friending” them when they join Facebook.
Just as you lay the foundation early for dialogue and conversation offline with your children, you should lay that foundation early online.
It gets harder to do so if you wait. Even before they are on social media, talk to them about technology as a whole. It can help lay the groundwork for future conversations.
Identify and seize key moments:
For example, when your child gets their first cell phone, it’s a good time to set ground rules.
When your child turns 13-years-old and is old enough to join Facebook and other social media, it’s a good time to talk about safe sharing.
When your child gets a driver’s license, it’s a good time to discuss the importance of not texting and driving.
Typically, you can adopt the same parenting style for your child’s online activities as you do for their offline activities. If you find that your child responds best to a negotiated agreement, create a contract that you can both sign. Or, maybe your child just needs to know the basic rules.
Ask your children to teach you:
Not on Facebook? Or, maybe you’re interested in trying a streaming music service? If your children are already familiar with these apps and sites, they can be an excellent resource.
The conversation can also serve as an opportunity to talk about issues of safety, privacy and security.
For example, you can ask them questions about privacy settings as you set up your own Facebook account. And, as most parents know all too well, your child will likely appreciate the opportunity to teach you.
This list is only a starting point and may not exactly fit the needs of your family – the important thing is that you’re having the conversation.