SECURING THE GAME
Cyber Security Guide For Junior Sports
United States Edition

Module 2: Social Media

Introduction

Social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are now a significant part of many children's lives and their use of devices and platforms continues into adulthood.
Evidence suggests that the Y and Z Generations have avoided the social media platforms that were popular with their parents and grandparents. This is possibly because they were designed for an older age group. An alternative and/or cynical person could suggest that this is also because children are savvy enough to know how to avoid, Mum, Dad or Grandad seeing their ‘creative’ if not ‘cringe-worthy’ online activity.
This often puts parents and carers at a disadvantage when it comes to helping keep our children safe. Not only are we not privy to the content that our children are posting but we are also out of touch with the platform itself – Do you know how to navigate your way around Snapchat? … the chances are you need to be a Y or a Z Generation to truly master the correct technique to ‘swipe’.

Whilst these platforms offer many opportunities for creativity and connection, their presence in our lives also pose significant risks. Some of the more concerning risks include exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and interactions with online predators.

This module provides a range of strategies to help parents and carers navigate the complexities of social media safety for their children.

Setting Up Safe Profiles

Ensure your child's social media profiles are set to private, thereby limiting the audience for their posts to people they know and trust.

Platforms frequently update their policies and features, and this makes it important to regularly review privacy settings.

Encourage your children to accept friend requests only from people they know in real life.

It is critical to ensure your children are cautious about sharing personal information.

Educating About Personal Information

Teach your children the importance of protecting personal information, in order for them to never share details to strangers, in public or to anyone unnecessarily.

Key information to protect and keep closely guarded includes:

  • Their full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • School
  • Anything else that helps identify them and/or locate them!

 

Explain to your children that sharing too much information can lead to identity theft or make them a target for predators. Consider the use of real-life examples to illustrate the potential consequences of oversharing.

Recognizing and Responding to Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can take many forms, ranging from hurtful comments to spreading rumours.
Encourage your children to report any bullying behavior and to block and report people who harass them.

It's also important to foster an environment where they feel comfortable discussing these issues with you. Discuss these strategies for dealing with cyberbullying, such as:

  • Not responding to the bully
  • Saving evidence of the bullying
Also encouraging your children to confide in someone they trust and discuss any instances of abuse is perhaps the most important approach that your children can adopt.

Managing Screen Time

Excessive use of social media can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

It is vital that limits are set on screen time and encourage your children to engage in offline activities whether it be sport, creative activities (art, reading etc) or outside time.

Tools like Apple's Screen Time or Google's Family Link can help monitor and manage usage.
Cyber Assessments

Promoting Positive Engagement

Encourage your children to use social media positively.  This includes:

  • Being kind to others
  • Thinking critically about the content they consume and share
  • Reporting inappropriate behavior

Discuss the importance of a positive digital footprint and the potential long-term impacts of their online actions, promoting the idea of "digital citizenship".

“Digital Citizenship means being responsible and respectful online”

Monitoring and Involvement

Staying involved in your child's social media use doesn't mean spying on them but rather showing interest in their online activities.

Don’t be afraid to ask them to show you the apps they use and who they interact with.

Regularly check their friend lists and the content they are posting. Open dialogue about their online experiences can help you stay informed and address any issues early.

Reviews
Cyber Engage

Conclusion

Key steps to implement, that will help your children navigate social media safely and responsibly, include:

  • Setting up safe profiles
  • Educating about personal information
  • Recognizing cyberbullying
  • Managing screen time
  • Promoting positive engagement
  • Staying involved

Overall, the strategies covered in this module will help ensure that social media remains a positive and enriching part of their lives.

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