Do you know your kid’s cyber friends? Do you know what they post or with whom they share it? If not, or if you have doubts, I recommend that you keep reading.
How is it possible that thousands of children are abducted around the world and the number continues to rise? Very easy: the Internet makes work easier for hijackers. Today most children over the age of 10 have a profile on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, where they not only share ideas or thoughts, but also their daily routine.
Being popular no longer corresponds to the person who has the most friends in their social circle, but to the person who has the most friends on social networks, the one who accumulates the most likes in their publications or the one with the most followers. Therefore, children decrease their friendship “filters” in order to move up the popularity ladder.
Do you think your children are safe behind a computer screen or behind a cell phone? So I invite you to watch this video and reflections on it.
When I saw the video I was shocked. I felt identified with those parents who blindly trusted the values that they had instilled in their children. I know very closely a fourteen-year-old girl and more than two thousand friends on Facebook, of whom I am sure she knows less than half. I know that she publishes photos in her school uniform, close to her home and that she trusts those whom she does not know in person, so it would not strike me if any of them asked her to “meet” she would attend. But I don’t feel the same way about my 10-year-old son, who since I allowed him to surf the internet I have shown him both the benefits and the dangers of social media, and I try to guide him in the cyber world.
What things should your child keep in mind when opening an account on social media?
1. Anyone can have a social account
In none of the social networks that our children usually access do they ask for some type of validation (such as the Unique Tax Paper, or RUT, here in Chile) so that they can create a user profile, so inventing the data is very simple .
2. Don’t contact anyone you don’t know
In addition, the images that are uploaded to the platforms can be taken from the internet or even stolen from other profiles. For all this, it is very important to emphasize to your children that when a stranger sends them a message or a friend request, they should first consult with their parents and never give out personal information, especially about places they frequent alone or the times they they are more vulnerable.
3. When you upload a photo, it is no longer yours
As much as one restricts the users who can view the photo, the moment it hits the Internet, it becomes public. Due to the speed with which an image travels the web, it has become so essential to teach young people not only to respect themselves, but also to demonstrate it. The Government of Paraguay pioneered this issue by publishing a video warning about the dangers of uploading a photograph to the internet. If you want to see it, click here.
4. The Internet is becoming more dangerous every day
I know some people will say I’m an alarmist, but the numbers don’t lie. Every year thousands of children are kidnapped for sexual, political or monetary purposes, so our job as parents is not only to protect them, but also to teach them to protect themselves. The best way to prevent our children from interacting with strangers and even holding meetings with them, is to educate them about social networks. Your child must be aware of both its benefits and its dangers and, for this, you must promote good communication and trust between you and your children.
I do not intend to scare you or put you against technology, I just want to give you these tips and make you aware that – every day more – Facebook is a very efficient tool for pedophiles. Be one of the people who take care of and protect your children inside and outside the home.
If you want extraordinary advice on how to take care of your children, I invite you to read the following articles: My teenage daughter wants to open an account on the networks! Or you can also read: Social networks. Valuable tool or element of crime?