Moms, expert lend advice on how to keep up with child’s social media use

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The Pew Research Center says more than 70 percent of teens are on more than one social media platform.

With ever-changing technology, how can parents make sure their kids are staying safe online?

Vanessa Bush owns Albuquerque Moms Blog, and while she’s active on social media, her 13-year-old is not. 

“It has concerned me because you see so many negative things that can happen,” she said, adding she wants to make sure her seventh grader is ready.

“I would never drop him off in a place with a whole bunch of strangers and say ‘see you later’ and so I’m not going to do that with the internet either.”

Some tech experts think her son could be ready soon.   

Auri Vigil with the New Mexico Tech Council says 13 or 14 years old is a good age to start stepping into the world of social media. However, Vigil emphasized that the conversation should start much earlier. 

“What are the safety risks, what are the ways to be safe on technology,” she said. “Kind of opening that conversation, that will help evolve as they grow up because it’s very hard for parents to stay up to date.”

Vigil acknowledges kids much younger are already logging on to Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and says parents should know exactly what their kids are doing.

“I think parental monitoring is very important,” she explained. 

Vigil says keeping computers and tablets in the home’s common area can help.

She encourages parents to use the apps their kids are on and “be-friend” them on the social media platforms.

“They will know that their parents are on there but they’ll be a little bit more lax and that allows the parents to kind of swoop in with a little eagle eye and see okay this is how they’re using it,” Vigil explained. 

Marquita Baca, who has two teenagers at home, agrees. 

“If you’re paying for their phone and their service, there’s nothing wrong with just randomly checking their phone to see what kind of conversations they’re having,” she said. 

Experts say its also important to remind young social media users to be careful about what they share, they say they may not realize posts or snaps can live on the internet even after they think they’ve been deleted.

For now, Bush says she’s getting ready for the inevitable.

“The things that my husband and I have talked about is having a contact with him where he makes sure that we know all of his passwords, we have to be friends with him and if any of those things are broken then, of course, he would lose his privileges,” Bush said.

Another bit of advice from experts, help the child set up his first social media accounts, restricting connections to only family and close friends. 
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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