Tips for keeping your child safe on social media

(WTNH)– As your kids head back to school, you’re most likely doing all kinds of preps as a parent. One of the things you should talk to them about is social media and how to use it safely.

Parents, you of course want your kids to get a great education. And you can help their overall school experience by educating yourself with social media. So do you know how to send a Snapchat? Or watch a video on Instagram? Knowing what’s popular with your kids will help keep you hip in their eyes and keep them safe as well.

On a beautiful day at the beach, part of the view is teenagers on their phones in just about every direction. Are their parents on social media?

“Yes, actually yesterday I was putting my Mom on Snapchat and it was hilarious,” said Amal Raham, a high school senior.

When asked if she is friends with her parents on Facebook and if her mom comments, high school senior Ja’nyha Snell answered, “yes a lot.”

And experts say that’s a good thing. Parents should have social media accounts on the same sites their kids do. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, you name it.

“If you’re on Facebook and your child is on Facebook, they’ll think twice before they post, knowing Mom or Dad or Grandma Sue might see this,” said Melanie Bland.

Melanie Bland, a child expert with the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, says social media safety starts with parent involvement and having a clear conversation with your son or daughter about your social media guidelines, what’s appropriate for their age, and who they should friend.

“Sometimes we think common sense…don’t friend someone you don’t know. Don’t friend teachers you’re attracted to. For teens, common sense not always is so common,” said Bland.

And yes, parents, it’s okay to comment of your child’s post, just not every time.

“She’ll be like, oh look at my little baby and stuff like that.”

That can be embarrassing for your child. Plus you don’t want to take checking up on them too far. It could backfire.

“You can have an account, without stalking you child. You don’t want it to become you’re watching everything and making a comment about everything because your child could become fearful and start to block you,” said Bland.

When asked what he thinks about his parents checking out his posts, 8th grader Brian Montes said ”I think it’s annoying.”

You know they do it because they love you right?

“Yes,” he answered.

And take if from this about to be high school senior.

“It’s very good to see what your child is doing, who they are socializing with. Just to see how they are living their life on social media because that’s another life of your child,” said Ramzia Issa.

And experts say it’s good for both parents to be on the same page about what social media sites are allowed, who to friend, and what types of photos to share. If parents don’t agree, it can be confusing for your child. And may slow them down from talking to you, knowing it could start a family argument.

So first talk to your spouse, then have the conversation with your kids.

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