Sam O’Brien CMO of performance marketing platform Affise, has shared what he believes parents can do to ensure their children navigate social media sites as safely as possible.
O’Brien’s tips come following this week’s announcement from head of Instagram Adam Mosseri who introduced a new series of tools and safety features aimed at protecting young users.
O’Brien has said, “The new safety features being rolled out on Instagram will include parental oversight, a tool to help users manage how much time is spent on the app, a limit on unwanted interactions with other accounts and exposure to sensitive content.”
“While these all sound great in principle and will hopefully do some good in overturning the potential harm apps like Instagram can encourage, there are some red flags that appear when you delve a little deeper into the proposals.”
One of these red flags was the issue of new measures dissuading young people from continuing to use the app out of fear of being spied on or orbited by their parents.
More pressingly, O’Brien also mentioned that Instagram users under the age of 18 would be required to opt-in in order for parents or guardians to gain access to the controls.
The chances are that pigs will fly before young users willingly allow their parents this kind of access.
In fact, O’Brien even argues that “It could encourage them to set up a separate, private account without their parents’ knowledge that could worsen existing issues on Instagram’s platform.”
He makes specific mention of the exacerbation of body image and mental health issues.
However, for parents who want to keep their children safe on social media platforms, consider these simple steps that O’Brien outlines.
Be Aware Of Age Limits On Sites
While it may seem as though your child is the only person in their class or year at school who is yet to have access to their own Instagram or TikTok account, don’t feel pressured into doing so before they are emotionally ready.
Also consider that the majority of platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, have a minimum age requirement of 13. Consider whether you are happy with your child consuming content targeted towards potentially older age groups.
Create House Rules And Stick To Them
As soon as your child begins to show an interest in social media and you feel they are responsible enough and ready to download the apps, be sure to implement rules from the offset so they know exactly what you will and will not stand for.
Think about setting phones aside during the after school hours when homework needs completing and consider keeping phones outside of bedrooms so that children aren’t scrolling through apps well into the night.
Educate Yourself On Technology
This ball is in your court. Instagram, TikTok and WhatApp aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so it’s vital to educate yourself on social media to get a better understanding of how the sites work.
Learn the apps to understand how they are used by your child’s generation and why it is so important to them.
If you haven’t already, download an account yourself and make sure your child allows you to access their profile as a friend or follower. O’Brien reiterates, “Don’t let your lack of tech-savviness as a way to get away with something they shouldn’t.”
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