With the rise of technology comes increased usage of the Internet among children.

Social networking is on the rise, not only among businesses and adults, but teenagers and young children are making their way into the world online. While there are plenty of benefits that come with your kids being able to communicate online and access information in developing their sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing.

Just as we prepare our kids for life in the real world, we should prepare them for life in the digital, online realm. Read on for tips that every parent should keep in mind!

No Underage Facebook-ing
Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook? However, there is no real way for Facebook to truly enforce it because anyone can lie about their year of birth. You should make sure that your child stays away from Facebook until 13 and until you are comfortable with him or her having an account.

Check Privacy Settings
Ensure that the privacy settings for the Internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels. Your child’s Facebook profile should only accept friend requests from ‘friends of friends’, preventing spam and ominous accounts from adding your child online. You should also block pop-ups, adjust levels around cookies, and more. This protects your child and your computer from the threat of viruses.

Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It’s much easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone where your child is using a computer or laptop in the privacy of their own room.

Limit Device Usage
Just as you would limit a gaming system and TV, you can do the same for mobile devices. Set rules on how long your child can be on their phone or laptop and ensure that they stick to it. If you have teens of driving age, the most important rule is to enforce that they are never to use their phone while driving.

Be a Good Example of How to Use Social Media
If you’re tweeting and updating your Facebook page at a stop light and taking every opportunity to “just check something quickly”, you’re setting a poor precedent for social media usage that your child will surely follow. Online, use your phone at a safe time (not at all while driving!) and demonstrate proper technology etiquette as well.

Protecting your child comes easily to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley. We aim to aid your children in developmental stages, all the while having safe and healthy fun! Call us to learn about our programs and summer camps to get your child involved!