It’s a Big, Big World Wide Web

The Internet is an ever-expanding entity, seeming to grow by leaps and bounds by the second. The landscape and its inhabitants are mercurial, flowing and changing constantly for myriad reasons. Did your re-creation of a red-carpet look get likes on Instagram? Did a breaking news event happen? Who will be in the next summer blockbuster movie? The list of reasons we use social media evolves and grows as smartphones, tablets, and personal computers become more accessible to the masses.

Parents face challenges when it comes to communicating via social media platforms; online safety being the main concern, as well as misinformation or disconnection from in-person communications. There are dozens of social media outlets available for consumers today, although their popularity ebbs and flows like the tides. Social media has become a tool to keep track of their kids’ activities, finding it convenient to check in, share information and photos, and even make a phone or video calls to speak to their loved ones. For countless people worldwide, the access granted by the Web outweighs the risks associated with it.

How to keep your kids safe online is a subject all parents consider daily.  Practical advice is available to those parents from a variety of sources, though, to be honest, most of the answers will be provided via a quick Google search on their smartphone. Let’s face it, we are all along for the ride on the Information Superhighway, so it makes sense to know the rules of the road. Just like our cars and mobile phones, social media allows us to engage with news, culture, society, education, and entertainment in new and exciting ways.

Basic safety techniques are usually offered first, and once implemented provide a good foundation for more age-specific ground rules. As your children grow older, and their interests grow and change, their exposure to content online and their usage of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. also grows. Parents are well advised to make a habit of creating accounts on the same platforms and interact with them there. This keeps parents up to date about what their children are doing, and whom they are doing it with.  A strong online presence in their social circles will keep you connected and provide another layer of personal protection for your child by discouraging predators.

When your child is online, they will like/follow/subscribe to strangers and they will attract followers outside your friends and family. Establishing trust in internet safety is essential to creating healthy online habits. The web is growing constantly, and the sheer volume of entertainment and knowledge your child has available to them is simply astounding. Teaching kids to be good virtual citizens and that words matter is an easy way to help keep their online interactions enjoyable ones. Don’t forget to remind them no matter how many followers they have on Instagram, you will always be their biggest fan.