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  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

Social Media Safety Tips for Parents


Mom shares social media safety tips for parents

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How to keep yourself and your family safe on social media


Social media can be fun, but every once in a while a news story comes along that makes us want to delete all of our accounts. They range from scammers taking an elderly person’s money to predators luring kids to a location to be kidnapped.


So social media is good, but it can be used for bad. As with all things online, we must be vigilant. Especially when it comes to our kids. Here are a few ways that we make our kids and ourselves safer on social media.


Social Media Safety Tip: We Can Cause the Problem


While many of us want to blame social media for all our current problems, the fact is that most of the time we make our own trouble. We all need to think twice about what we post on social media. Ask yourself why you’re doing it and what good will come from it.


Now some people like to watch the world burn, and I see you. But most of us just want to connect with like-minded people. So before you hit the share button, please think twice.


This is especially important for our kids because they will be judged for what they posted when they were only 14 years old. This could hurt their chances of college acceptance, job applications, and even relationships. So while our kids want to be kids on social media, they have to think about their future when they post. And if your children don’t want that stress, then maybe they don’t need to be on social media.

Social Media Safety Tip: Don’t Share Your Location


Speaking of the trouble we create on social media, don’t make yourself the target of a crime.

A lot of people think that since social media is digital that what we do there can’t follow us into the real world. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


Posting your vacation plans this summer could get your home robbed. Posting you’re at the gym could get you stalked. Posting your job information could get you fired for how you acted outside of the office. The possibilities are really endless.


And this just breaks down to the information we are putting out there about ourselves. So be sure that your entire family is on the same page because if mom and dad are great with privacy online, a child may inadvertently blow it by sharing a pic of being on vacation while you are still gone. And that may make your home a target for burglary.


Social Media Safety Tip: Private Accounts May Be Best


While you don’t expect too much privacy on social media, consider who you are posting to. Do you want your posts to be seen by everyone? I feel anyone under the age of 18 should have a private account if the platform doesn’t make that mandatory already.


I have personal social media accounts for my family and friends. Then The Secure Dad is public of course. My personal accounts are locked down and really not used all that often.

I personally don’t post about myself too often unless I can make a good joke that I know people will like. I find my life to be more peaceful that way.


But I want to strongly caution you to share personal information on public channels. Information like where your kids go to school, your job location, and the bars you frequent don’t need to be shared with a public audience. You don’t really know who is following you on a public account. I’m mainly thinking about Twitter here. If you have a public profile, just be cautious about what you share because you don’t know who is seeing your life.

Social Media Safety Tip: Sanitize Your Bio


On all social media apps don’t overlook your bio. You may lock down your posts but don’t forget about the information people can get from your bio. On many social media sites your bio shares a ton about who you are.


Facebook, for example, will share your name, age, town where you live, where you went to school, workplace, relationship status, and so much more that I don’t even care to keep going. You don’t have to share any of those details. Only share the minimum required and don’t feel like you have to be specific about either.


For example, you could live in Buckhead. But it’s safer to say you live in Atlanta. And yes, I just made a lot of Atlanta people laugh. But you don’t owe social media companies specific details about your life. You don’t and it’s okay to be vague if it keeps you and your kids safe.


Social Media Safety Tip: Image Background


The most popular social media apps involve photo sharing. Snapchat, Instagram, and BeReal all want you to share pictures to use their service. This can get a lot of people in trouble for a lot of reasons. I’ll focus my thoughts on what information you may be giving away by accident.


For example, I don’t want you to take pictures in front of a laptop, phone, or other device that might give away personal information. Also, don’t post pictures of your house that might share your address, what your house looks like, or what kind of locks you have on your front door. These are all things that can be exploited easily for reasons you probably never thought about.


So when you post a picture, look at the subject, but also look at the background and see what you might be missing. And like I just mentioned, make sure your entire family is on board with this because you don’t want someone giving away valuable information by accident.


Social Media Safety Tip: No Safe Platform


You might also be thinking that there are safe social media apps that no one would use to exploit you. For us as adults perhaps LinkedIn comes to mind. You may think that site is safe because you share a professional version of yourself. Plus, it’s boring so why would scammers be there, right?


Well since people are honest about their skills, knowledge, and work histories, LinkedIn is one of the most OSINT-rich social media sites. Remember that OSINT stands for open source intelligence which really encompasses everything on social media, really.


But with LinkedIn, you’ll feel compelled to share your location, current and past jobs, contact information, connections, and a ton more ways that people can find out who you are. There are legendary stories of phishing and whaling scams that come from people doing normal searches on LinkedIn to establish relationships and exploitable traps.


If you haven’t logged into LinkedIn in a while, go in and do a quick check of the information you’re sharing and see what you can delete while still looking like a qualified candidate.


Social Media Safety Tip: Are Your Kids Ready?


And if all of this happens to us as adults, then what’s it like for kids? Their brains aren’t fully developed and their social skills are not as sharp as ours. I wholly suggest that you keep your kids off social media as long as you can. And when they do join, make sure to monitor their activity including their direct messages.


If your kids are wanting a phone, but you don’t want them to have social media, then you might be interested in Troomi Wireless. I’m currently testing out one of their phones and it’s going well so far. But one of the selling points for me was the fact that their phones won’t allow social media apps to be downloaded.


Watch Social Media Safety Tips for Parents on YouTube



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Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.

 

Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

 

TheSecureDad.com

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