Keeping Your Child Safe When Using Social Media

Realizing that many of our teachable moments as parents will be coming from social networks, Facebook is taking a leading role in helping parents understand the ins and outs of helping to control and monitor our children’s internet and social media usage. 


Growing up as a child in the 90s never had social media and were on the cutting edge of the internet. We were children of an age where running around outside was our idea of a social network.

Our social networks consisted of how far we could ride our bikes or the neighborhood tree-house. The network would be cut off at dinner time only to come back an hour later until the street lights came on when the plug was pulled and we had to wait with great anticipation to hear from our social networks the next day.

We were part of the dawn of the 24/7 news cycle and saw the advent of the news-crawl that is synonymous with any cable news network.

Our parents had their own concerns about our social network, how far could Brandon really ride his bike? What are the kids doing in the tree-house?

Social Media Is A Different World Now

Today, our children’s social network means something completely different. Who are they talking to online? What kind of pictures are they sending via Snapchat? What kind of things are they tweeting about us (parents)? And who are they instant messaging on Facebook?

Being a child who saw the dawn of internet chat room, my parents had to learn the hard way of controlling what I was doing online. I had our ethernet cable taken away when my parents weren’t home, only to take a computer networking class to figure out how to make my own (yeah, bet my parents didn’t know about that one). Eventually leading to having a password put onto the computer so that I couldn’t access anytime I wanted.

While the internet won’t be anything new for my children, social media will be an ever evolving part of their lives that as parents, we are going to have to be constantly changing how we control and monitor their usage of it.

Let Our Kids Teach Us

For many parents, who aren’t tech savvy, it won’t come easy. I know that there will come a day, that my children and more than likely grandchildren will show me how to use some new fancy tool, or to only get the news and information I want on my Facebook feed while ensuring that they hide any status update that they will be putting out to the world from us.

Realizing that many of our teachable moments as parents will be coming from social networks, Facebook is taking a leading role in helping parents understand the ins and outs of helping to control and monitor our children’s internet usage.

Their parents portal is a great tool to give tips and advice on keeping track of your kids on Facebook. Letting your kids teach you, is just one way to learn how you can watch them online.

Be A Good Role Model

Even though my child is at least 6 years from having any sort of social media account (more than that if the Mrs. has anything to say about it), there are things that I can be doing now to make sure that I show him how Facebook and social media can be used for good. I can be a good role model for what to do while you are using technology and the internet. For example, don’t post anything that you will be embarrassed about and if you are posting a picture of someone else, be sure to ask that is OK. Even though Facebook has made our world smaller, people still want privacy and even now, my 6-year-old is asking me not to post certain pictures of him. I have to respect that, no matter how cute or funny that picture is.

Set Ground Rules Early

W, our oldest, just received his first phone (we call it a tablet since it is an old phone that I no longer use and can not make or receive calls). He was thrilled the moment I handed it to him and downloaded Minecraft on it. He could play for hours and hours without stepping outside on a beautiful day. Upon handing it to him, we made sure that he knew the ground rules. That the WiFi will always be off and that when mom and dad ask him to turn it off, he turns it off or it will be taken away. We set those ground rules early, and for the last 6-months, we have had no issues except a few minor, TURN IT OFF NOW! instances.

As parents, we have to evolve with the changing social media landscape. There is no if, ands, or buts about it. Social media is here to stay. We have to understand that many of the social media networks are willing to help us understand and make it an enjoyable experience for both kids and parents alike.

Facebook’s Parent Portal can be found here for more information.

Check out the Facebook Live that I did discussing the Parents Portal… please forgive the ums and stutters it was my first Facebook Live.

Full Disclosure: Facebook did not compensate me for writing this post. The information was sent to me to spread the word about what Facebook is doing to help parents with children who are or will be online. 

The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad is father of 2, husband, TV Producer, runner, and co-founder of Dads Round Table and a contributor to Traveling Dad and Good Men Project.