Tips to Help your Kids Stay Safe Online - Southwest EAP

Tips to Help your Kids Stay Safe Online

When you’re at work, any number of factors can influence your performance during the day. But non-work situations can have an equal impact on the quality of your work.  Struggles at home can make it difficult to stay engaged. With your mind elsewhere, you might find hours passing you by with little completed work.

One of the toughest challenges parents face today is helping their children navigate the internet. Almost every child and teen today is exposed daily to social media, which can lead to unique concerns that couldn’t have even been imagined ten years ago.

As employee assistance providers in Arkansas, we dedicate our work to helping people just like you wade through all kinds of issues and challenges. We often work with parents who are struggling with relating well to their children in terms of their online lives.

Here, you’ll find a few actions you can take to help your children navigate the often-confusing online world. An employee assistance provider can help you take these tips further and personalize them to what works best for you.

Ask Before Posting

Though it may be tough to acknowledge, parents must examine how their own use of social media might be affecting their child, and what message it’s sending. According to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as one-third of newborns have their photos uploaded to social sharing sites such as Facebook or Instagram within their first 24 hours of life on Earth.

Using social sites is an easy way to keep family members updated about your kids, but check your privacy settings. Make sure you’re not sharing photos with the entire world. Also, if your kids are old enough, ask them first if they would like the picture to appear online. This can teach them that they alone determine if and where their image appears.

This offers your children an added layer of protection: If they see their image online without their consent, they will know to tell you about it. This simple step will set a great example through your own use of social media and encourage your kids to take ownership of their online identities.

Make the Rules Together

Often, in classrooms, teachers enlist the help of their students to make a list of rules. The rationale? Students are more likely to follow the rules when they’ve helped create them. Often, they’ll come up with a list not far off from what the teacher would’ve created, because they want to learn in a positive, productive space.

The same goes for social media rules in the home. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, researchers found that giving children a say in online rules made them more likely to follow them.

This is because children inherently want to remain safe, including on the internet. By talking them through an ideal social media approach, everyone involved will know the rules and the reasons behind them. Southwest EAP can help you prepare for these discussions.

Look Through the Apps Yourself

You probably don’t use Facebook and Instagram exactly like your children do. Instead of assuming, ask to borrow their phone and get familiar with what they see when they log on — not to get them in trouble, but to put yourself in their shoes.

CNN reports that inappropriate content may appear in their social media feed even if your child does not follow the user posting it. By looking at the online world from your kids’ perspectives, you can be proactive about safety measures for them to use.

Bullying: Call It What It Is

Cyberbullying is a big problem, just like face-to-face conflict. This form of harassment might be new to some parents, since it wasn’t around when they were growing up. Instead of leaving it to your children to decide what is and isn’t bullying, talk with them about what constitutes threatening or intimidating behavior. Also, encourage them to tell you if they experience bullying online, assuring them that you are a safe space and they can come to you with any problems.

This discussion can also encourage your kids to consider their own actions in relation to these behaviors. A frank, open talk may help your children adjust their own actions and treat others better.

What Now?

Southwest Employee Assistance Providers, for Arkansas workers, serves as a valuable resource for you as you navigate the sometimes choppy online waters with your children. You may encounter some difficult conversations and moments along the way, and Southwest EAP can help you manage that stress. We realize that you can’t be expected to be in “work-only mode” during the workday, so we want to make it possible for you to remain successful at work and thrive at home.

Reach out to Southwest EAP online or at 501-663-1797 to get the conversation started. In addition, you can contact your company’s human resources department for more information on your Employee Assistance Program.