Social networking sites are a very popular place for people trying to trip you or your child up. Your child will probably not be as cautious as you are, so you need to point out the dangers.
If your child has access to social media, they should be old enough to discuss the risks of bullying, cyber stalking and online grooming. Most social networking sites set the age limit for membership at 13 years old, but it’s easy for children to get around it and get online at an earlier age. Encourage your child to tell you which sites they’re using, and ask them to show you how they work.
Teach your child to be very careful to befriend and communicate with only trusted people that they know. Tell them that revealing personal details such as their birth date, address, pet’s name or teacher could give someone all the information they know to harm them. Teach them not to click on links or download from sites they have linked to.
Keep your child safe. Have this conversation with your child:
• Ask yourself, why are you posting this? Does this information really need to be in the public domain?
• Beware of people trying to persuade or harass you into changing your basic beliefs or ideologies, or adopt an extremist stance
• Check photographs carefully before publishing publicly. What do they tell fraudsters?
• Do not let peer pressure or what other people are doing on these sites convince you to do something you are not comfortable with
Above all, assure them that it’s OK to come to you or another trusted adult if they feel threatened by or uncomfortable about something they have seen or done on a social networking site.