Category: Social Media Safety

5 Must-Know Tips to Help Keep Teens Safe on Twitter

Tips to Help Keep Teens Safe on Twitter

With the ubiquity of social media, it’s more important than ever for experts to teach their users about internet safety. Twitter is a viral platform, and it’s essential to be aware of the dangers. One of the most common risks on Twitter is cyberbullying.

Users can remain anonymous, making bullies target other users with little fear of retribution. It can lead to severe emotional damage. As a result, it’s crucial to discuss the importance of being kind online and not engaging in cyberbullying.

In addition to cyberbullying, there are risks associated with sharing personal information on Twitter.

Predators can use this information to locate and target vulnerable users, so we must stress the importance of keeping personal information private through mass media. Reading informative articles and watching videos can help you and your friends avoid becoming victims of cyberbullying or predators by teaching you about internet safety.

Configure Privacy Settings

Knowing how you can help yourself and your friends stay safe on Twitter is essential. One way to do this is by configuring the privacy settings on your account. It will help to prevent strangers from viewing tweets and direct messages.

Additionally, it is crucial to learn about responsible tweeting, including not sharing personal information, such as their home address or phone number. Avoid posting images that can identify you or your location as a user.

Do Not Share Personal Information

Twitter is a microblogging site allowing its users to post short updates, or tweets, of 140 characters or less. Although it is primarily used for personal communication, it has also become a popular platform for businesses and organizations to share news and information. Because Twitter is a public forum, users must be aware of the safety risks of sharing personal information.

One of the biggest dangers of sharing personal information on Twitter is the risk of identity theft. Scammers can use stolen information to open new accounts, make purchases, or even commit other cybercrimes. Another safety concern is the possibility of cyberbullying. Once you post information on Twitter, it can be challenging to remove it. This can leave the user vulnerable to harassment from classmates or strangers.

We encourage you to use strong passwords and avoid sharing sensitive information such as your home address or phone number. Remind your friends that once you post something on Twitter, it is difficult to delete it.

Do Not Befriend Strangers

Always be aware of the risks associated with social media. One of the biggest dangers is the potential for strangers to befriend you or your friend.

While people need to be open to new experiences, teaching users about safety is essential. Predators can use social media to build relationships with their targeted users and then take advantage of them.

By following your trusted circle of friends on social media, you can help monitor their activity and ensure you’re not putting yourselves in danger. In addition, it’s important to talk more about the importance of not sharing personal information with strangers.

Taking these precautions can help keep you safe from harm.

Tweet Wisely

In the age of social media, it’s more important than ever for us to be aware of the dangers lurking online. While Twitter can be an excellent way to stay connected with friends and family, learning and teaching each other how to tweet wisely is crucial.

One of the biggest dangers of Twitter is that it’s a public platform. Anyone can see a person’s tweets, regardless of whether they follow them. It can be hazardous for you if you may not yet fully understand how to use discretion when sharing personal information online.

We must emphasize the importance of only interacting with people they know and trust online.

Finally, you must ensure you and your friends or family know that anything you or they tweet – even if they delete it afterward – can still be screenshotted and spread around. Help keep yourself safe from social media’s many dangers by learning to tweet wisely.

Approach Links with Caution

Yes, social media has become integral to many people’s lives. It provides a way to stay connected with friends and family, share their interests, and express themselves. However, social media can also be a playground for predators and bullies. We need to take proactive stances regarding safety on Twitter.

We all can do a few things to help keep our friends safe on Twitter.

First, they should talk with their teen about online safety and set some ground rules. For example, we might agree that the user will only follow people they know in real life and that they will never share personal information (such as their home address or phone number) online.

Encourage your friends and family (including ourselves, too) to speak up if they feel like they’re being harassed or bullied online or if they see something inappropriate.

Finally, we should regularly check in about their activity on social media and be aware of who they’re interacting with online.

5 Steps How To Be Safe While Using Twitter

Here are some easy steps you can take to be safe while using Twitter:

1. Don’t share personal information.

It includes your full name, address, phone number, or email address.

2. Be careful about what you share online in general.

Remember that once something is posted online, it can be very complicated to delete it. So think twice before you post anything that could be embarrassing or damaging to your reputation.

3. Don’t click on links from people you don’t know.

These could lead to malicious websites infecting your computer with viruses or stealing your personal information.

4. Be aware of the people you’re following.

If someone is constantly posting offensive or inappropriate content, it’s probably best to unfollow them.

5. Report any suspicious activity to Twitter.

If you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can report it to Twitter, and they will investigate.

Conclusion

Be sure to go over the basics of cyber-safety, such as not sharing personal information or meeting up with strangers.

Next, take some time to explore Twitter with your friends and family. Show them how to block and report users who are abusive or harassing.

Finally, encourage your friends to use Twitter responsibly and respectfully.

By taking these steps, anyone can help create a safe environment for users on Twitter and help prevent them from becoming victims of online harassment or predators.

Online Summer Safety Tips for Kids

Summer Fun

School’s out, and that means your kids have lots of time free to spend online chatting, making plans with friends, and posting fun summertime photos—sometimes without you there to supervise. If that gives you anxiety, fear not. Here are four steps that will keep keep your child safe online this summer.

1. Set Rules for Responsible Use

Sit down with your children and talk frankly about why you care about their internet safety, covering big topics like cyberbullying or identity theft in a way that matches their maturity level. Then work together to define clear, understandable rules for their online interactions. Here are a few basics to consider:

  • Never post personal info like addresses and phone numbers on social media.
  • Avoid location check-ins and photo geo-tagging, which can be used to track where you are as well as when you are away from home.
  • Be wary of free games and other goodies, which can infect your devices with malware. Keep security software up to date and scan everything before downloading.
  • Use secure passwords and protect them. There are several password managers out there that can generate strong passwords and store them all in one place.

Once you’ve agreed upon the ground rules for online safety, put them into a contract to be signed by everyone in the family.

2. Follow Your Own Rules

This is an important follow-up to the previous rule. You want your kids not to text or go online after 10 p.m.? Shut down your phone and laptop at the same time.

Don’t want them posting embarrassing photos of you? Let them veto pictures they may not be happy with you sharing on social media, too.

If you can adhere to the rules you and your kids built together, they will feel more inclined to do so as well.

3. Build Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

In a world abounding with fake news, help your kids think critically about any content they find online. Encourage older kids especially to fact-check stories before reposting on Facebook or commenting on Twitter.

Teach them to question their own motives as well. Just because a comment will generate a lot of likes, that doesn’t mean they should post it. Even one poorly chosen post can cause problems down the line.

The Family Online Safety Institute has also developed a checklist that includes reminders to remove and untag unwanted posts, and to “accentuate the positive” by posting upbeat content.

4. Let Your Kids Know You Will Still Monitor Online Usage

Finally, let your kids know that you may occasionally check up on their activity. Being upfront about your plans to look at their browser history and monitor their Facebook account will establish a sense of trust and keep them accountable.

For young kids who need a bit more oversight, there are plenty of helpful apps available to let you keep an eye on them. Older kids and teens may not need (or want) as much monitoring, so for them, you may be able to check in less often. To really emphasize trust, you can even ask them to put their passwords into a piggy bank for use only in an emergency.

The internet can be a great resource for helping kids learn and be social during their school-free summer months, and following the steps listed here will help them do so smartly, responsibly, and safely.

Eight Great Things to Do with Kids This Summer

How Social Media Affects Children’s Mental Health

How Social Media Affects Children’s Mental Health

Social media is now part of everyday living.  We check it on the bus when going to work, during lunch breaks, and after school. For many, it is the first thing they check before getting out of bed in the morning. Social media is entrenched into the lives of children as well. It can be difficult for them to break away from it.

Long hours spent on social media could negatively affect a child’s mental health.  Some of these adverse effects include:

Causes Low Self-Esteem in Children and Teens

This is probably the greatest effect of social media on children. On a platform like Instagram, people post pictures while having fun, show off their new homes, their perfect parents who take them on vacations abroad, etc. This can make a child still in the emotional development stage compare what they see on social media and their lives. Teenagers also use social media to bully, send negative pictures and exert peer pressure on their schoolmates, which negatively affects the victim’s self-esteem.

1. Anxiety

Many teenagers and adults can feel anxious because of social media. They feel pressured to constantly post perfect photos and equally good posts to accompany the photos. There are unspoken rules in social media that are difficult to keep up with, leading to teenagers experiencing high anxiety levels. Young people view a lot of content on what their idols, peers, and friends are doing, making them feel left out. If they post something on social media and it does not get enough comments and likes as their friends, they may feel anxious and inadequate.

This can be a problem for young adults having anxiety issues because social media can exacerbate the problem. Girls feel anxious online as they are susceptible to worrying about how they look and be negatively affected by slut-shaming and cyberbullying.

2. Sleep Issues

Social media is addictive, and teenagers and children can talk with their friends and get caught up in posting for long periods. This can affect their sleep quality and sleeping patterns, impacting their mental health. Lack of sleep can affect a young adult in many ways. They may drop their grades, get moody and tired during the day, and have difficulty concentrating in class.

Also, increased screen time is associated with attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, which include emotional regulation, poor attention span, and sleeping problems. A teenager’s brain is still developing, and they require at least eight hours of quality sleep every night. Prolonged use of social media can affect both the quality of sleep and the amount of sleep, worsening mental health condition symptoms, including anxiety and depression.

3. Reduced Physical Activity

Increased screen time leads to less physical activity. Teenagers and children spend a lot of time online and less time taking part in active play. Furthermore, people drink and eat carelessly while playing an online game or watching TV, which packs more calories on their bodies leading to weight gain. Lack of physical activity and obesity leads to numerous health problems, including depression, respiratory issues, heart diseases, and diabetes.

How to Lessen the Effects of Social Media on Children’s Mental Health

  • Talk about social media. Talk to your child about the effects of social media and gauge how they feel about it. Do they like it, or does it make them worried and anxious? Educate your child about social media and help them understand that what goes on social media can have repercussions in real life. If your teen is too far gone into social media, you can enroll them in cognitive behavioral therapy to help them know how their feelings, thoughts, and behavior are related. This will help them identify and change unhelpful thought behaviors and patterns.
  • Limit social media use. This can especially work for younger children. Although they may resist at first, the limitations will eventually benefit them.
  • Be a role model. As an adult, you should be a good example by putting away your devices at mealtimes, limiting your social media time, and having specific times when you do not touch any technological device. Your child or teen will follow in your footsteps and have an improved relationship with social media.

Encourage your children to get out more by engaging in physical activity yourself. You can also participate in online games that encourage dance and movement, such as yoga and aerobics. All of these ideas combined will help your child form a healthy relationship with social media and create better balance in their lives.

5 Digital Resources for Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness in Kids and Teens

Is Discord Safe for Your Kids? A Complete Parental Guide

Kids Safety Using Discord

Discord has been gaining popularity as one of the most popular free audio, video, calling, and chatting services.  It initially gained popularity as a gaming and chat platform, but is now trying to reinvent itself as a place where like-minded people can socialize and discuss. Discord usage for business has even been increasing.

Parents often ask this relevant question about Discord since teens are the app’s intended audience. If your child uses Discord, should you be worried? How can you protect your kids from cyberbullying and harassment on Discord?

Even though Discord can be used safely with adequate precautions, it still comes with risks, just like every other open-chat program.

Read this article to get all the necessary information about Discord and to know Is Discord safe for kids?

What Is Discord?

Whats is Discord

Discord is a free application for PC and mobile that allows people to chat via text, voice, or video.

By combining Skype’s internet call features with Reddit-like discussion boards, it has diversified from a forum for gamers only to one for communities with a wide variety of interests, including anime, TV series, music, and more. Also, it can be used to chat with friends in a group.

Discord, which was founded in 2015, is a platform that brings individuals together with similar likes and interests. Video game players use it to communicate and develop a sense of community outside of the games themselves.

Over the years, it has expanded into an entire social network with over 140 million active monthly users. Gamers are no longer their only users.

Working of Discord

It is essential to have a clear understanding of the word ‘server’ to grasp how Discord works. Servers are like groups of users that can discuss a topic or game together, and users can also create a server to play with friends and other players.

Users can make servers public or private, depending on their choice. If the users choose to make the server public, everyone can join the server. And if the user makes the server private, only people with links can join. Whenever users invite their friends to the private server, they will get a link to join the server.

You can also divide existing servers into voice and text channels for specific discussion topics. The server owner can also set their own rules regarding what content to allow and how many people they can join their server.

Is Discord Safe?

Is Discord Safe for Kids

Discord can be used safely with the correct privacy settings and monitoring. Nevertheless, open chat on sites and apps always poses a risk. Use Discord safely by accepting only friend requests from people you already know and joining private servers.

There have been instances when predators have used Discord’s public servers to send direct messages to children, although it’s rare. Despite the fact that server moderators are typically quick to intervene, kids and parents should learn how to spot creeps and online predators.

Discord is an open-chat platform, and like every other open-chat platform, it is also unveiled to different cyber threats if necessary precautions are not taken. Discord users are at risk of data breaches and undesired content.

The safety of Discord depends upon the intensity of security measures adopted by users. The only way to ensure the safety of users on Discord is to adopt safe practices while using this application.

Risks of Using Discord

Discord can be a beneficial app, but it is also dangerous and harmful for kids if necessary precautions are not taken while using this app. Discord is an open-chat platform, and like every other open-chat platform, it is also unveiled to different cyber threats if necessary precautions are not taken.

Discord comes with a number of risks. A few of them are mentioned below:

●     Discord makes Cyberbullying easier

Discord is an open-chat platform that allows users to chat with their friends, families, and strangers. It is more prevalent among teens and kids as they use Discord for gaming, chatting, streaming, etc.

However, Kids and teens are also using this app for bullying. Discord provides a feature in which audio and video streams disappear, making it easier for bullies to bully others without leaving any evidence on Discord.

●     Easy for predators to contact children using Discord

Discord allows its users to meet and chat with strangers, and like other open-chat platforms, people on Discord can also lie about their identity or who they are? Predators can manipulate and stalk your kids via Discord.

Predators can send inappropriate content, images, videos, audios, etc., to your kids, or they can blackmail your kids. They can even groom your kids to perform some unbefitting tasks, which can be harmful to your kids.

●     Difficult to Moderate

Like many others, open-chat and private communication app discord is dangerous as it is challenging to control real-time communication. Audio and video streams disappear in Discord.

An individual server carries out the content moderation process. Hence the groups have servers of different standards, and some of the servers are administered better than others.

Users can report issues to Discord directly, but this is a time-consuming process, and your child may gain access to or be exposed to improper content.

●     Kids may get access to pornography and Exploitation

Discord has lots of private groups, including groups of criminal activity, child pornography, etc. These groups can trap your kids and expose these types of adult content to your kids.

However, Discord is trying to solve this problem by breaking down pornography and criminal activities groups.

What’s Good About Discord?

What is Good about Discord

Despite the risks of Discord, it has some positive aspects. There are a lot of chat apps out there, but Discord stands out because of its simple UI. It doesn’t take up too much space on the device and allows youngsters to communicate with their real-life pals while playing a virtual game.

Discord has been a social savior for many teenagers and kids during the pandemic. They use Discord to stream movies and games with friends to kill time and get over boredom.

Another advantage is secrecy. Teenagers can use Discord to avoid public conversation in games where strangers disparage others or share inappropriate stuff.

Discord’s concentration on interest groups also helps kids connect with others who share their passions without sifting through unnecessary postings or ads they might see on other social media platforms.

The Bottom Line

If your kid can safely use Discord, it can be a way to interact with their real-life pals via gaming when they can’t be together in person. They might be able to find a group interested in discussing their common interests.

On the other hand, Discord will always be a riskier software to use due to the lack of parental controls. Consider whether the benefits of Discord outweigh the risks. If you decide to let your children use this app, make sure they have an internal filter installed to keep them safe while they’re online.

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, safe and secure browsing, parental control apps, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.