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Parenting 101 - Keeping Social Media In-Check

By Ida Collier
Program Associate 4-H Afterschool
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service

Parenting 101 - Keeping Social Media In-Check

Is my 9-year-old ready for a Facebook page? Many children are wired with cell phones, computers and internet access. The benefits of these resources allow children to learn firsthand about the World Wide Web. Parents and caregivers can help children navigate these tools - and help ensure their safety - by supervising use, making rules, enforcing restrictions and talking about dangerous activity on the super highways.

Where do I start? Adults can start the conversation by presenting these guidelines regarding terms of use of cell phones, text messaging, and social media networking.

Family Discussion Guide for Devices:

  1. The cell phone is a communication tool to keep us connected and to keep you safe. The computer is a tool to help with homework, do research for school and personal projects.

  2. The computer is a tool to play games and connect with friends and family.

  3. If you are being harassed, tell an adult as soon as it starts. Log off the computer, but do not delete any negative messages. Share them with an adult.

  4. Hurting others by using a cell phone (texting or forwarding photos), or while on the internet is inappropriate and could be illegal. You will notify an adult if you know of another person being hurt on the internet or through instant messaging.

  5. If someone wants to meet you, you will inform an adult even if you decide not to meet him or her. If the adult agrees to the meeting, you will be sure that it is in a public place and you are with an adult.

  6. The computer is placed in a family/common room with appropriate adult supervision.

  7. The computer has parental controls and filters to protect the computer from viruses and inappropriate content.

  8. Think about what you say or post. You should not say or post anything that you would not say or do in public.

  9. Let us talk about the language of chatting, text messaging, and instant messaging. IKR! LOL!

  10. Protecting your personal information, address, telephone and cell phone numbers, school sports team and family routine is important. If someone wants a picture, you will first ask an adult.

Adults can help children learn and have fun with these useful devices by educating them about the potential harms and risks that go hand-in-hand with social freedom.

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