As we near the beginning of the school year, this is a good time to talk with your children about social media safety and for us to remind our parents of Fairmont’s own social media guidelines.
Safety Tips for Your Kids:
Most social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc.) require users to be over the age of 13 to join. It’s important to make sure your children abide by these age restrictions for their own security. Net Nanny points out that children who lie about their ages to get onto social media put their personal information at risk. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act protects the personal information of children under the age of 13. Their information cannot be acquired by companies without a parent’s permission, but by creating a social media account and falsifying their ages, children can lose that protection. It also keeps them from posting things they’ll regret as adults! Can you imagine the things you’d have posted if you had a social media account during your childhood?
Remind your child to keep their social media profiles private so only their friends and followers can see their photos and posts. This will give you a little more peace of mind knowing strangers can’t access their pages. That said…
Don’t Add Strangers
Stress to your child to only add friends and family to their social media profiles and to be wary of friend requests from names or faces they don’t recognize. If they don’t know them, they shouldn’t add them.
Educate your child about the dangers of posting their whereabouts online. While rare, posts about being on vacation or being home alone can make your home a target for burglary. Post vacation photos after you’ve returned home. Before posting, encourage your child to think about if there can be any negative consequences to their post or photo.
Permanence of Social Media
In a similar vein to negative consequences, emphasize to your children before they begin using social media how permanent posts are. While photos and posts can be deleted or edited, others can still take screenshots of the original posts and share with others. Embarrassing posts can come back to haunt your child when applying for jobs and college applications. In addition to asking if there are negative consequences to a post or photo, have your child ask themselves if this is something they’d be embarrassed for a future employer or a college admissions director to see. Or if they’re too young to think about that, ask them to think about if this is something they’d be embarrassed to look back on in a few years.
While not necessarily a safety issue, it is critical to teach your children that unkind behavior online is just as wrong as it would be in any other situation. Remind your child to treat people with kindness and respect in all aspects of life – that includes interactions on social media.
It’s All a Show
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have linked high amounts of social media use with depression. Seeing seemingly perfect images of peers on social media constantly can cause social media users to feel their lives aren’t as successful or enjoyable as others. It’s important to remind your child that the images they see on social media are only part of a person’s story. People only post what they want others to know about them and photos are manipulated to look better. Your child isn’t going to see photos of their peers’ bad days at school or a poor test grade they received, but they will see a ton of photos from friend hang-outs, school dances, family vacations, and a bunch of other events that will make their peers seem more fun and exciting than they actually are. Your child should never compare themselves to others, but this is especially important to emphasize in today’s social media culture.
Guidelines for Fairmont Private Schools Social Media:
Don’t Post Full Names of Other Children
Per our social media guidelines, we don’t post full names of our preschool through 8th grade students on social media to respect our parents’ privacy. We ask that as a courtesy to your fellow parents at Fairmont, please do not post the full name of Fairmont students that aren’t your own without their parent’s permission.
Don’t Tag Photos of Other Children
If you want to tag your child in a photo posted on one of our social media sites, please do! We only ask that you do not tag other parents’ children without their permission.
Ways to Share:
Hashtags are a great way to easily access all of your social media photos pertaining to a specific topic. You’ve probably seen wedding hashtags, made so the bride and groom can find all of their guest’s social media photos of their big day in a simple way. Similarly, you can use Fairmont’s hashtags for any Fairmont events or school related photos to keep them all in one place. This also helps us find Fairmont photos to share on our own social media pages. You can use #FairmontSchools, #FairmontPrep, or one of our special event hashtags like #FairmontFirstDay for the first day of school or #FairmontPrep25 for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Fairmont Preparatory Academy (Don’t forget to RSVP to the event on Saturday, August 19, 2017)!
You can also share your photos directly with us by sharing them on our Facebook page or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don’t forget, you can win a $25 Amazon gift card if you use #FairmontFirstDay to share a photo of your student’s first day of school (August 15, 2017) at Fairmont. Photos will be accepted until Sunday, August 20.