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Childhood: keys for responsible use of social networks

 

The Internet and social networks have built a new digital society that opens up a wide range of possibilities in new technologies. The vast majority of minors use the internet for over an hour every day and the length of time increases with age. Because we believe that if they are well informed this trend can be positive for the youngest children and their parents, we created Familia Digital (Digital Family), a platform where it is possible to learn about the added value of ICT for nuclear families.

It is also worth noting that there is a growing trend in the publication of photos of children by their parents. Even with good intentions, making images of young children public can have important consequences, as once they are on the Internet we completely lose control over the photos. Moreover, it is very important to be careful with these types of photos, making sure that there is nothing distinctive in the photo or a place that could lead to the child being traced.

Nowadays one of the most worrying things for parents is that their children do not make good use of technology. Therefore, here we suggest some interesting key points that will allow children to be more responsible in their use of social networks!

 

  1. Choose a safe and unique password. Try to have a different password to the one for your email.
  2. Think before uploading a photograph to the internet. Acknowledge that privacy policies make the photo the property of the social network, and even if we delete it, it remains on the server.
  3. Check the privacy settings of your profiles and publications. It is important that we are certain of who we are sharing our contents with.
  4. Talking about responsible use of the Internet as a daily occurrence with children at home will help them use connected devices responsibly and know that they can come to us with any concerns that they may have.
  5. It is important to avoid being excessively controlling. If young people perceive a parent as controlling, it will be counter productive. A parent joining social networks as another adult helps them perceive it as something shared, rather than as an intrusion.
  6. Young people should be made aware that when they see compromising photos or insults, they should report them, and be shown how to do this.
  7. Encouraging activities as a family, both online and in real life, will improve balance in the use of social networks by the youngest members of the house.
  8. It is important that, when a photo of other people is uploaded, they have given their permission for its publication.
  9. Educate children about the importance of not publishing important personal information on our social networking profiles and not sharing this type of information with strangers.
  10. When we accept a contact to our private profile, it is important that we know this person in reality, especially in the case of minors. Often minors only know their social network contacts online.

 

Therefore, we are faced with a great challenge: to teach our children to walk on the internet, the same as we do in the offline world, so that from a young age they learn to make a positive and enriching use of these powerful methods for communication and tools for self-expression.

 

Do not forget that many social networks have noticed this problem, and in an effort to help parents, have created guides and security centres with specific advice to help young people use them responsibly: Facebook, Tuenti, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat, are some examples.

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