Research shows that teens and adolescents in the age bracket 13-19 years comprise 31% of
total social media users in India. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is the
primary factor behind the increase in the usage of social media among teens. Right from
attending school to conversing with friends, the virtual loop is enveloping teens in their grip.
However, you also know that social media addiction is harmful to your teen’s physical,
mental, and emotional health. While it might not be possible to take off your children from
social media completely, the next best alternative is to teach them the safe way to use it.
Here are some social media safety tips to take care of in your teens:
Don’t Respond to Random Friend Requests
It is quite tempting for your teens to accept friend requests from strangers to increase their
followers or friend list. Many people create fake profiles as children and send friend
requests. Tell your teens that they should never accept requests from people they don’t
know or never met because it gives strangers access to their personal life. You can help your
teens identify red flags related to stranger requests. For example, the person would have no
followers, no profile photos or no uploads in the feed.
Turn On Privacy Settings
Privacy settings on social media help to prevent the use and disclosure of personal
information into the wrong hands. This ensures that information is restricted to only
approved friends. Their posts will allow only approved friends to like, comment or share.
Never Share Personal Information
Teach your children that they should never share personal details like address, school name
or phone number online, fill any questionnaires and surveys, or participate in contests and
quizzes. Someone can misuse this information to their advantage. It also makes the device
vulnerable to cyberattacks from hackers.
As a parent, you have complete authority to monitor and control your teen’s social media
habits and usage. So, set a time limit as to how many hours they can use social media and
which apps they can use. Let them know that you have the right to confiscate the device if
they do not follow your instructions.
Take Permission Before Posting
Your children should know that they need to show you what they want to post on social
media and take your permission. This is because they may inadvertently post something
that should not go on social media and attract undue attention.
Be Cautious with Links
Social media shows many links which lead to unauthentic and misleading sites. Tell your
teens that they should refrain from clicking on such links. If at all, they trust the link, they
should do it in your presence.
These tips will go a long way in ensuring cyber safety for your children. However, do not
hesitate to set ground rules and remain firm with usage.