Here’s some tips for children:
- Never give out your full name or physical address. The less information about you on social networks the better.
- Ensure that you use the maximum amount of privacy and only invite/accept friends that you actually know in the real world.
- When someone posts a nasty comment on your social networking profile, delete it and remove/block them so they cannot do it again.
- When someone talks to you about sexually explicit topics, stop talking and block them.
- Tell your parents about anything unusual so they can help you deal with it.
Here’s some tips for parents:
- Sit with your child and ask them to show you around the social networks they use.
- Talk to your child about posting to many photos on the social networking sites because this puts them at greater risk from predators.
- Encourage your children to talk openly about anyone who is stalking or harassing them online so you can help them through it.
- Place limits on the amount of time you child spend on the Internet e.g. between 8am-8pm during the week or limited airtime on cellphones.
- Use technology as a source of conversation over the dinner table to show your children you are interested in their world.
- Don’t let technology be a substitute for parenting or experience. Spend time with your children doing other activities so they can learn how to do them and in the process bond with you.
- Do your best to avoid violent computer games for your children because this conditions them to become desensitised to the same acts in the real world.
Ramon Thomas is a available for a motivational talk on the psychology of technology and social media for parents, teachers and learners.