Where has the time gone? Your kiddo is upright, talking in sentences, and can't get off their various devices... While so many of us work hard to pry these things away from them, we also must acknowledge that the landscape of communication, even for our younger children, is changing. That's why it's crucial that we redefine what "Stranger Danger" means in the context of virtual social interaction.
Who is online?
As of mid 2018, 4.2 billion people around the world access the internet. That's around 55% of the 7.6 billion world population! Of those 4.2 billion internet users, 2.77 billion use social media. That's a ton of people communicating online! While social media can be an incredibly convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends, find a job, it can also be a way to meet some not-so-well-intentioned characters.
As adults, we are better equipped to handle these seedy situations, often even if the person is disguised as someone harmless, but our children are more susceptible to being too trusting. With popular shows like Catfish (pictured above) shedding light on how easy and common online trickery is, now is 1000% the time to sit your child down for a quick conversation about staying safe.
How to stay safe?
1. Know the App
Each social media application has a completely different set of nuances to it that may seem foreign to you, but are second nature to your child. Educate yourself and keep track of updates (they come often)! Some popular apps are:
Instagram- Photo Sharing
Facebook- Social Networking
Twitter- Social Networking
Snapchat- Multimedia Messaging
WhatsApp- Voice Over and Messaging
Twitch- Live Streaming