A parent’s job has become much more difficult as technology continues to produce more ways for your child to connect with others. Social apps are being developed at a rapid pace and it can take some effort to keep track of which sites are safe and which should be avoided. Like most things, knowledge is the key to keeping all of your family members safe and happy members of the online community. Investigate all of the relevant social apps and know how they work, the advantages and disadvantages of them.

Communication with you children is vital to keeping them safe, they need to know that they can trust and depend on you if they do make a mistake. Rather than spending their effort hiding their problems, they can be more productive in getting your input and advice searching for a solution. It is vital that children know they can trust the reactions of their parents when one poor decision on social media could have a long term affect on their lives.

Skout
Skout was originally considered a “flirting app” that allows people in the same region to communicate and connect. This app is relatively safe as it gives the option of signing up as a minor or an adult and then pairs a person with a group of age appropriate potential connections. Like all social media there is the danger that a person can be dishonest about their identity, but if you teach your children common sense of internet safety then their Skout experience will be positive.

Another great feature of Skout is that it provides a travel feature that allows anyone to plan a virtual trip to a distant location. People use it all the time to plan an ideal vacation, meeting local people and getting ideas of what sites would be interesting to experience. Often these virtual trips have become real trips and many people get to meet their Skout guides and experience these places with someone who has local knowledge. Open communication and assistance from parents can help all children get the most out of this app.

Facebook
Social media begins with Facebook. The majority of people in the world have a Facebook account because it is a great way to connect with people from all areas of your life. Parents need to be careful with children using Facebook because your child may be exposed to people and situations that should be avoided. Often too much self esteem is tied to the number of likes a post or picture gets on Facebook as well. Open and clear communication with your child about personal values can be a huge help in overcoming this problem.

Instagram
Instagram is the most popular photo and video app out there today. It allows for the quick and simple sharing of events both large and small. Children take “selfies” and images of events or more likely pictures of the food they are about to eat. One of the dangers of Instagram is that all pictures and videos shared are public unless the settings are adjusted appropriately. Instagram Direct is an option that allows posts to be sent to up to 15 friends and not show up on the public feed. This could be an area that is unmonitored by parents and can lead to sharing of inappropriate material. Again it is when parents communicate what is appropriate that children will recognize proper boundaries.

Social media is continually going to evolve and develop in the future and this will provide a challenge for all parents to stay informed about what the new apps do and how they should be used to keep children safe and happy throughout their childhood.