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Safe Social Media Use

According to the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of teens use social media. That’s a lot! From Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat, social media has become a popular way for teens to share ideas, connect with friends or even make new friends.

 With the many benefits of social media also comes risks. Risks and dangers of social media include cyber bullying, inappropriate content and online predators, among others. As use of social media increases, so does concerns about social media safety. Below are a few tips on how families can work together to ensure teens use social media safely. Families may also visit the Safe 2 Tell website,  https://safe2tell.org/?q=internet-safety for additional internet safety resources.

  • Learn about popular social media sites for teens. Find out which ones your children are using but remember that these apps gain and lose popularity quickly.
  • Ask them to check their “friends” lists to see who has access to their accounts. Encourage them to remove anyone they don’t know or trust. Children should also block or “unfriend” anyone bothering them.
  • Teach them to use privacy settings. While they don’t guarantee complete privacy, they can help children control who sees what they share.
  • Help children remove any personal or inappropriate images from social media and other accounts.
  • Encourage them to report inappropriate posts to the website or app. Most have a system in place to handle these complaints.

Additionally, remind children and teens to never give out personal information or share passwords and to only communicate with people they know and trust. Many social networking sites, including Facebook and Snapchat, have a minimum age requirement to sign up. These requirements are there to help keep kids safe.