May 17, 2016
My Time Magazine Interview: Talking to your kids about Snapchat
Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social media sites and one of the most popular sites for tweens and teens. Youth love it because of its "Mission Impossible" messaging system. Any photo or video sent over Snapchat will self-destruct within moments of viewing ... perfect for avoiding parental detection and accountability.
Recently, Time Magazine interviewed me for parental tips on how to keep children safe on Snapchat and beyond:
At any age, says Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of the internet safety organization Enough is Enough, parents need to help kids understand that the digital world is very much like the real one: it has lots of good places and people-but also bad ones. Problems in the digital world arise, Rice Hughes says, because we don't have "healthy boundaries instinctively in the digital world."
It's also crucial, Rice Hughes says, for parents to realize they can't just "have that Internet safety conversation once," because today's kids are always online, and always finding new opportunities - for good or ill. So conversations with kids about their digital lives should start early, and continue on a weekly or even daily basis.
So from elementary age, Rice Hughes says, parents need to help kids set healthy digital boundaries. Today's elementary students were born into a world in which "the internet has become an extension of our physical lives." So one of the most important things to get across to them, says Rice-Hughes, is that "the internet has not always been here. We can live without it." She encourages parents to encourage kids to unplug regularly, and to begin to use parental controls on all technology from the beginning - so that when kids are older, parental involvement in technology use - like Snapchat - just feels like a part of normal life.
Social media is evolving every day, and it is imperative that we keep our children safe online. We have several resources available to you on our InternetSafety101 website and YouTube channel. Also, please share this article and newsletter with family and friends as well. The digital world does not have to be a scary place with the right tools and awareness to stay safe.