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Part 3: A Safe Start on Social Media

Welcome to the grand finale of our "Getting Started with Social Media" series! Are you ready to help your kid take the plunge into the digital adventure? Don't worry, we'll tackle this together!

Stefanie Parth
6/25/2024 • 4 min
Four teenagers, two girls and two boys, lean against a wall and all of them are looking at their phones

Now that we've explored your kid's understanding of social media in our first post and assessed their emotional and cognitive readiness in our second, it's time for the final step.

Imagine your kid jumping into the deep end of social media without any preparation – pretty risky, right? Just like learning to swim, it works best when done together and with some floaties. So, let's go through some safe steps to help your kid get off to a responsible start.

Preparation is Key

Have an open conversation before jumping in: A frank and thorough discussion lays the foundation for safe use. It's better to be prepared than to let your kid explore the vastness of social media unsupervised. Let's dive deeper into the details:

Choosing the right platforms
Not every platform is suitable for every age. Choose wisely! Instagram, TikTok, Facebook – they all lure with colorful images and exciting videos. But beware: with possibilities come risks. Have you heard of Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts? These new features are particularly popular with kids. Think together with your kid: Which platforms are not only fun, but also safe? Consider data privacy and the type of interactions in the community.

Setting usage rules
Set clear boundaries to maintain a healthy balance. Discuss what could happen if they spend too much time in front of the screen. Less time for homework or hobbies? Sleep problems? Define acceptable times together with your kid – maybe half an hour on school days and a little more on weekends. And psst: Ohana can help you stick to these limits.

Discussing the dangers
Cyberbullying, privacy issues, unwanted contacts – sounds scary, but it's important to inform your kid about the dark sides. Take the time to discuss these issues in detail. Why is it dangerous to share your home address or school online? What can privacy violations look like, and what are the consequences? Make it clear to your kid: Better safe than sorry!

By the way: We have more exciting articles for you. Check out our post on the psychological aspects of social media use and our detailed article on cyberbullying. You'll find even more valuable tips and strategies there. Our media agreement can also be very helpful for the conversation. Why not take a look?

Starting Safely Together: Creating a Profile

Together, you're unbeatable! Creating a profile together is the key to a safe start in the online world. Here are the steps you should take side by side:

Profile creation
Choose a profile picture that doesn't reveal any personal info. A cool drawing or favorite cartoon character are great options. When it comes to profile information, less is more! Think carefully about what information is really necessary, and be careful not to disclose private details. No birth dates or addresses, okay?

Time to dive into the privacy and security settings. Set the profile to "private" – so only selected friends can see the posts. Go through all options carefully and explain to your kid why each setting is important. Also think about future posts: Who should be able to see them? And location services? Let's turn those off. Explain that location can reveal a lot about habits and whereabouts.

Friends list
Who should be allowed to see your kid's posts? Only people you know personally! It's like an exclusive party – you need an invitation to get in. Discuss why it's important to be careful with friend requests. Encourage your kid to ask about unknown requests before accepting them. It's better to have a small but trustworthy friends list than many unknown followers.

What's cool to post and what's better left unshared? Talk about how to share responsibly. Explain that once something is online, it's hard to remove. Practice together how to critically question posts: Could this post be embarrassing or harmful to someone in the future? How do you respond to mean comments or strange messages? A pro tip: Sometimes ignoring is the best answer! But also encourage your kid to come to you if something feels uncomfortable.

Your Role After the Start

The start is done, but your job continues. Stay on top of things! The digital world is constantly evolving, and your kid will face new challenges and opportunities.

Build an online presence gradually
Rome wasn't built in a day. Start with simple activities and increase slowly. First follow family-friendly channels, then maybe comment, and eventually your kid can create their own content. Step by step, they can become social media pro! Walk your kid through the process and discuss new steps and experiences together.

Use Ohana
Ohana is your digital co-pilot. With our app, you can keep track of your kid's screen time and control access to specific apps. That way, there's enough time left for the real world – playing soccer, reading books, or just doing nothing.

Have regular check-ins
Set reminders for joint check-ins. These conversations are like a safety net – they catch problems before they get big. Ask questions, listen, give feedback – and don't forget to celebrate positive experiences too. Use these opportunities to learn more about your kid's online world and build trust.

Make adjustments
The online world moves fast. What's safe today may not be tomorrow. Stay flexible and ready to adjust the rules. It's like buying shoes – sometimes you need a new size! Regularly review settings and rules, and adapt them to your kid's growing abilities.

The Way Forward

A safe start in the world of social media is like the foundation of a house – crucial for everything built on top. With the right preparations and tools, you can make it easy for your kid to get started. Keep the conversation going, set clear rules, and use technologies like Ohana to create a safe environment. This way, the digital journey becomes not only safe, but also educational and enriching.

Ready for the digital adventure? Let's go – together you'll make the online world a safe and exciting place for your kid.