Kids on social media is a growing concern for parents. Now that most children have access to the internet in one form or another, it is something that needs to be talked about. How can you help to nurture responsibility for this generation? What can we pass on about staying safe online? As a teacher, it may seem like you are powerless to this but that is not entirely true. There are some steps you can take to teach kids to be responsible online. Kids are going to use social media and be online whether we like it or not. The important thing is to teach them how to be safe and responsible. It doesn’t need to be a taboo subject, as long as you approach it with the right mind-frame.
Age limits on social media
As you are probably aware, there are age restrictions on most social media sites. Although the minimum age limit is 13, we know that kids younger than this are often online. Whether its playing online games or using Facebook. As someone who is tasked with looking after children day after day it is good to be aware of these things. Teaching your kids about what age restrictions mean and reiterating the dangers of using a social media is important.
Opt-Out or Opt-In
Something that perhaps many people aren’t aware of is opt-out/opt-in features of some sites. Things like Snapchat that have a location feature is not compulsory. Make your children aware of this. That they can opt-out of having their location known. This is obviously something that parents should be aware of as well. If you’re school has a social media policy then this should be in there. Many sites do offer this option so make everyone aware.
Get them involved
Whenever you are considering posting anything, whether it be a video or otherwise, get the kids involved. Let them have a say and show them how it all works. That way, they can understand better what is involved int he process. If you are creating a short school video, why not let the students discuss what can go in it? By getting them involved you can teach them how to be responsible for what it being posted online. You can also teach them how to be sensible with what to post. You don’t want to scare them but knowing the dangers will give them the power to know how to avoid them.
What do you do if a pupil is misusing social media?
If it comes to your attention as a teacher that a pupil is misusing social media there are steps you can take. Although you should not directly get involved, it is a good idea to try to point them in the right direction. Offer them the chance to speak to someone about it. The school welfare officer should be the one to help deal with this sort of thing. As their teacher, you may want to actively help or intervene. However, you should avoid this if you can. Doing so could make matters worse so it is better to forward what you know onto the welfare officer and let them handle it.
Knowing that children are beginning to use social media from such young ages can be a scary thought. But, as a key figure in their life, you can help to influence how they use it. Give them the power to be responsible. If you are concerned about using social media within your school you can read some of our other blog posts to put your mind at ease.