Are Your Kids Breaking the Rules?

September 29, 2022

Common question I get sent

Our daughter has gone behind our back (again) to create and install another tiktok account - we have all the security measures and she works out a way to break them). She says she gets left out otherwise and doesn't know / get invited when she's not on social platforms. However I just think she is too young. There are soooo many reasons and content that is just not age appropriate and I don't want to willingly allow her access to. And yes before anyone says anything..... she has lost her phone and all technology and is grounded for an eternity for breaking the rules as listed above. Help!”

Online can be an amazing place for young people to socialize and chat with friends, play games and be creative. But you are right to have some parental concerns.

Missing out

Every child is different and some will be ok not being involved in online chatter and antics but other kids will feel left out and alone/lonely if they cannot participate in online activities with their friends.

Bad people

The internet has many predators and badly behaved adults and children who hide behind the anonymity of online profiles to say things they would never say in person. In particular where gamers play in virtual environments and can chat to strangers is particularly notorious for atrocious behaviour. Age inappropriate content is everywhere and not all content is rated so this can be presented to children without them wanting or needed to see it.

Can’t stop it and you or her have no control

Your child will participate in social media even if she doesn’t have an account ie she may be asked by friends to do a silly dance or be video recorded doing something and those friends will publish content of her.

Being in control

By allowing her to have an account and teaching her the right and wrongs and supervising the content she is publishing about herself and others will help her learn the right way to interact and give her tools to be able to say “no please don’t publish my photo” or “let’s not post that unless you have geo location turned off”. Although most kids won’t want to be “that kid” who stops the fun and think they will get picked on.

By giving her access to social media she can untag pictures of herself she doesn’t want found by future employers or request they be removed. You can request that she must have you as a friend or connection so you can Monitor content.

Parental supervision

As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children are safe.

Removing all online access is one way but it is similar to saying I don’t want my kid to break their leg so I’m not letting them go to the playground. Just like you teach your child to be safe in the playground or when playing a sport teaching children to be safe online is also a parents job.

..IRL (in real life)
  • It’s hard to teach them when you don’t know how and the best way to know how is to go to the “playground” assess the equipment and people there and give them advice.
  • If there are dodgy people at the playground then you can safely go home.
...In an online world
  • In an online world this means creating your own account on tik tok or Fortnite etc, finding the privacy settings, teaching your child how to use them and why.
  • You can set bespoke rules for certain types Of online accounts such as “ok you can game but only on games which have open chat feature turned off” or . “You can have tik tok but you cannot publish photos or videos of your face and you must have geolocation turned off when you publish”.
  • Then check that the features are turned off. Ie regular supervision just like you might do in a playground.
  • As they grow older you may want to trust them and let them learn from mistakes when they will hopefully come to you and tell you what is going on.

Teach - learn - grow

Online can be an amazing place for young people to socialize and chat with friends, play games and be creative. Guide them to more creative online pursuits.

More to come....

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