The recent social media scare over Momo Challenge had many parents worried sick—again—over their child’s safety online. There’s no way any parent can monitor a child’s internet usage 24/7, so what can one do?
To protect children from the dangers lurking online, parents must do their homework and set limits for their children. While parents are busy posting on Facebook or Twitter, the social media apps of choice of the older generation, their children have Tiktoks, Snapchats, and Instagram.
If those apps sound Greek to you, do some research.
The disconnect between how parents and their children use the internet is real. So, take time to learn what your children are into to avoid parental anxiety born of ignorance.
Establishing good communication with children is important. Encourage open dialogue about social media and the internet. This fosters trust so that when they see anything strange online, the first person they’ll reach out to is you.
Become your children’s safe space. Teach them not to contact strangers online, enable their privacy settings (if you don’t know how to do this, Google it), monitor their internet use, and keep electronic devices in shared space.
Sen. Rissa Hontiveros tweeted on March 1 her own tips for parents: “Allot quality time to talk to our kids to know their social media activities as well their issues and concerns online. Set up online filters for different devices at home to regulate what our kids can watch. Check the validity of viral scare stories before sharing with others so as not to help in promoting online hoaxes.”
Remember, pause before you hit retweet or share. Look it up on snopes.com or knowyourmeme. com to check authenticity. Then wait. Wait for a few days even, or until you hear from your kid’s school or the authorities. Do not become a tool of misinformation. –ANNE A. JAMBORA