|Youth Pastor Andrew Larsen gives tips to parents |
about social media safety at Faith Community Church
I attended a parent’s social media workshop at Faith Community Church recently with the youth pastor Andrew Larsen. Even though, I feel I am pretty up on social media, I know there is always something new happening that I need to be aware of. As parents, we need know as much as we can about social media so we can keep up with our kids. Larsen made a really good point that now parents don’t only have to talk to their kids about the birds and the bees, but we have something new to talk to them about called video footprints. A set of prints that can’t be taken away once they are in cyber space.
Some students at Osceola Fundamental High School know this all too well after several students were mortified when improper photos they sent to friends ended up getting posted on social media and their classmates saw it. Parents need to talk to their children and remind them anything they send, post or share with even their “friends” can be broadcast to the world with a click of the button and it can’t be taken back.
I have two young girls ages 9 and 10, so they aren’t into what the teens are into yet, but I am concerned and worried about what social media is going to be like in a few years. Look at how it has taken off in just a few years.
Every day there is a new app out there. If you can think of it, there’s an app for it. I am not kidding. I don’t really download apps so when Larsen started naming a few apps, I was saying in my mind, “really??” Did you know there’s an app to let you know the best time to go to the restroom during a movie? There really is. Unbelievable!
Larsen mentioned that most parents are on Facebook, but our kids are on Instagram. Instagram is a photo sharing site and not for kids under 13 years of age. Larsen says when apps give age restrictions parents should abide by them. He also said to be cautious of the geo specific apps that are out there, like the app that was used in the Osceola High School saga. The geo specific apps have changed the most out of all the apps.
Larsen had 5 great tips.
1. Talk to your kids early and often.
2. Be curious about your kid’s devices and what they are doing on them. Ask questions.
3. Leverage social media’s potential for good.
4. Go dark as a family and turn off and unplug your devices at night. Make sure kids turn in their devices to you before they go to bed.
5. Remember what is at stake. It’s not about technology; it’s about your kids.
As parents, we have to be in control what are kids are doing on social media. I know it’s easy to let the device be a babysitter for younger kids or become a shallow relationship for teens. Limit the screen time your kids have on devices. Check up on your kids. It’s not invading their privacy. It’s being a good parent, so your child doesn’t get hurt.