Should you let your kids use social media?

B. Willemse

Over my last few blogs I’ve shared my own opinions and learned knowledge on social media usage. In this blog I’d like to take a different approach. I’ll share with you all some of the biggest arguments for and against allowing your children to access social media platforms and will leave you to decide which way the scale should tip.

Socializing:

Pros – when I was younger people always said “you’ll meet your true friends or click when you hit college”. As that was the first opportunity that most of us had to interact on a large scale with individuals who had similar interests/values. But social media has changed this immensely, no matter what interests you have you can find online communities who share those same ideas.

Cons – as I spoke about in my blog, how to protect yourself from cyberbullying, online bullying is a disturbing problem for social media users. It is also one of the biggest reasons many parents choose to keep their kids offline.

Creativity:

Pro’s – social media tools can open your children to a whole new world of creative opportunities. From content creation to exposure to new ideas and experiences. Atlanta Parent notes “Kids who have a passion for photography, art, video production, music or writing can use applications like blogs, YouTube and Instagram to express themselves. Social media can be a great source of creativity, with kids posting poems, posing interesting questions or sharing funny or cool videos”.

Con’s – sharing their thoughts, feelings and work can expose your children to positive and negative reactions. This links back in a way to the previous point on cyberbullying, in addition to the social bullying there maybe trolling from strangers based on the content that they are developing. Further, children may not have the foresight to not post things that they may regret later.

Technology:

Pro’s – allowing your children to access and understand these platforms is also critical for the world they will be growing up in. Social media is here to stay, and they are going to have to use these or similar systems in the future. Raising Children advises “exploring and experimenting on social media can help your child build knowledge and skills to enjoy online activities and avoid online risks”.  Which makes sense, how can your child learn to use social media responsibly if they don’t actually use it.

Con’s – too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. As adults we can reflect and hopefully realize how monopolizing our devices can be. Typically, children do not have the same will power to choose to turn off the device and be present. This overuse of social media may even lead to “Facebook depression”. Elda Tatari explains it as “a depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression”.

At the end of the day, you must decide what is best for your and your family. But your child will eventually have access to these systems whether you approve or not. It’s important to keep an open mind while also protecting your child. If you are willing I would love to hear your thoughts.

Facebook: Trying to decide whether to let your children use social media platforms? Check out this blog for more info: Should you let your kids use social media? https://bit.ly/3GkYmlQ

Twitter: How do you feel about kids using social media? https://bit.ly/3GkYmlQ

5 Tips to keep you safe on social media

B. Willemse

Almost everyone has a social media account these days, from young kids to senior citizens. Social media helps to keep us connected with an ever-expanding world of global connections and possibilities. It allows us to keep in touch with our loved ones, network with likeminded individuals and exposes us to new ideas and communities. But opening ourselves up to this vast world can also put us in danger. With the evolution of social media came a whole new world of hackers and scammers who use social media as a tool to take advantage of those who are not prepared. So how do you protect yourself?

B. Willemse
  1. Ensure your password is secure. Social media networks don’t want their users to be hacked, those annoying password rules were made for a reason so follow them. The OPCC has a few simple tips to follow:
  • Avoid the classic fall backs (ie/maiden name, kids names etc)
  • Use multi-factor identification when possible
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts

  1. Manage your settings. Spend some time going through the privacy settings on your accounts. OPCC recommends you “find out how to adjust your privacy settings, customize them so that information is shared only in the ways you want it to be. Review and update these settings regularly, since social media sites can change their settings”. It may seem trivial and boring, but you could be sharing more than you realize.
  1. Think twice before posting. Do you really want that photo or message potentially shared with a wider audience? Remember that “regardless of the audience you choose for your posts, the organization is still collecting everything you post. While you may use tools to delete or hide information, data posted online can persist in different places. Permanent removal can be difficult if not impossible” sourced from the OPCC.

  1. Be aware and don’t trust everything you read. If you receive a message or link from a friend that seems off, try reaching out to the friend directly before opening. There is a good chance that your friend’s account may have been hacked. Further, be careful choosing to click on outside links from posts and ads, they will redirect you to sites that may be trying to steal your personal information.
“data privacy” by stockcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  1. Don’t share personal information. This one may seem obvious to most but avoid posting details like your address, phone number and current location. These details leave you vulnerable to both virtual or even in-person attacks.

Though there are always going to be risks to using social media the pro’s certainly out-weigh the cons. I hope you found these tips helpful, remember to stay safe!

Twitter- 5 Tips to keep you safe on social media #staysafeonline

Facebook- Is this you or someone you know? 5 Tips to keep you safe on social media

How to protect yourself from Cyberbullying

B. Willemse

Social media has the ability to both connect and divide us. It allows us to bond with like-minded groups and individuals providing a sense of belonging and community. But it also affords the perfect setting for those that get a thrill out of hurting others. Without that human connection it’s even easier for bullies or “trolls” to attack in the cloak of anonymity with little fear of real-life repercussions. Which brings forth the question, how can we protect ourselves and those we care about from falling victim to cyberbullying.

Don’t react – when Elizabeth Bernstein of the New York Times asked psychologists “how should you respond to a cyber bully” they all agreed “with complete silence”. This can be difficult but also the simplest solution, if you aren’t feeding the monster they will often move on to another target.

Be prepared – As outlined in my pervious post, 4 tips to avoid oversharing on social media, when you choose to make an opinionated post you should expect a strong reaction. Ginger Gorman’s first tip in 5 ways to protect yourself from cyberhate and trolls is to “get your psychological armour on”… “just knowing you may encounter cyberbullying is helpful”.  

Report it – All legitimate social platforms should have a reporting feature. Be sure to send documentation of the conflict by taking a screen shot or picture and submitting it along with your report. You can also choose to block the individual or simply turn off commenting and if necessary, increase the privacy settings on your account.

There are times when these tips may not be enough to stop you or your loved ones’ harasser. If so, please seek professional help. I have provided some great resources below, if you would like to share a resource please leave in the comments below.

Resources :

https://cyberbullying.org/

https://www.bullyingcanada.ca/get-help/

https://www.yrp.ca/en/crime-prevention/bullying.asp

https://cyber.gc.ca/en/incident-management

Twitter – Cyberbullying can happen to anyone, learn how to protect yourself https://bit.ly/3BpS7KJ #cyberbullying

Facebook – Have you or a loved one experienced harassment or bullying on social media? Find out how to protect yourself from cyberbullying.

4 Tips to avoid oversharing on social media

By B. Willemse

We all want to feel connected on social media, but when are you sharing too much information. This is a highly debated topic and can vary based on the platform you are using and your intended audience. The following list provides some general tips to keep in mind when posting on your personal or professional accounts

1. Be Patient

“Meditate” by RelaxingMusic is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Take a minute before posting. Often the posts that we regret are written when we are very emotional. When sharing a strongly opinionated post, try drafting the post and waiting a couple hours or even overnight before posting. You may find upon reflection that you were overly harsh or that it isn’t worth posting.

2. Consider others

“Untitled” by Brittany Willemse

  You may be very comfortable sharing intimate details or photos of your family/friends in a post but not everyone else feels that way. You may find yourself losing friends and followers if you don’t ask permission. Once you’ve broken the trust of your audience you’ll like never regain it. Remember after images and information are shared broadly it can be almost impossible to remove from the internet.

3. Privacy matters

There are real dangers to posting on social media. Be careful what details you share and with who. The Kingston Police Department has some great tips on internet and social media use and how to stay safe.

4. Editing

“Too Much Information” by Phot For The Day is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Does you audience really need all of the nitty-gritty details. According to a Times article written by Tony Haile, the average reader has a 15 second attention span. If your posts are too long winded your audience will not stick around.

Remember these are just meant to be guiding principles, depending on the audience and impact you are trying to have on a piece, there may be times where you need to break all of these rules. In future posts we’ll take a deeper dive into many of these topics. Please be sure to subscribe and share if you enjoyed this post.

Twitter Post:

Check out 4 Tips to avoid oversharing on social media. #oversharing

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Facebook Post:

Need some help with your posting etiquette? Check out 4 tips to avoid oversharing on social media.

This blog explores some common pitfalls for posting on social media.