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Safety Tips for Using the Internet

ELI5: Negligence

These days it seems like everyone is using social media—even young children. However, we’re finding out that social media isn’t always the best thing for young minds. In fact, it may be dangerous if consumed in excess. If your child is using social media, it’s important to make sure necessary safeguards are in place to ensure that they do not suffer because of social media’s dark side. 

Be Mindful of Social Media 

A while back we began to have a sneaking suspicion that social media maybe wasn’t the best thing for children, and studies are beginning to confirm exactly that. Parents ought to be mindful of their child’s use of social media. Limiting your child’s time on social media platforms can help ensure that they’re not spending too much time consuming social media content. Though your child may be mature enough to have a social media account that you don’t have the password to, it’s still a good idea to be able to see everything that your child is posting, as well as who your child is friends with.  

Consider Computer Placement 

Children should not have unrestrained access to the internet, especially given the availability and widespread nature of graphic content. It is currently extremely easy for children to bypass age restrictions; though minors technically need to be 13 years old before using Instagram, there is really nothing preventing them from lying about their age. The same is true for other websites. For example, many websites with alcohol related content prompt visitors to check a box or enter in a birthdate to ensure that all visitors are over 21 years of age, but there’s nothing stopping visitors from lying about their age. Placing a computer in a room that everyone has access to can prevent your child from accessing materials that may be harmful for them.  

Installing Filters 

If your child has access to the computer when you’re not at home, it’s important to have a good filter on your computer to ensure that your children do not come across any content that could be harmful for their development. Without installing parental controls on your family computer, it is impossible to ensure that your child is not viewing content that is harmful for their developing brains. For this reason, it’s important to have parental controls installed on all devices and it’s further important that parents check for any “work-arounds” so that children are not able to access inappropriate content without the parents’ knowledge. 

Is That Smartphone Necessary? 

Not all children need to have smartphones and, it could be argued that most children would benefit from not having a smartphone. If you have concerns about your child over-using social media, talking with strangers online, or being exposed to graphic content, it may be a good idea to reconsider whether or not the child has a smartphone. There are phone carriers out there that provide phones specifically designed for children: they have no internet capabilities, no social-media apps, or other distractions. However parents are able to use GPS tracking and the phone does have unlimited texting and calling capabilities. Though many teenagers may want a smartphone, basic phones may be a better option, especially considering all the harmful content out on the internet. 

When Social Media Is Misused 

Unfortunately, being bullied is part of growing up. However, that doesn’t make it okay, and parents ought to do everything in their power to ensure that their children aren’t bullying others. Not only does this mean keeping an eye out on how your child is using social media, but it also means restricting your child’s access if you discover that they’re using it to bully or harass others. Children who are constantly dealing with bullies on social media may need to take a break from social media, or even delete their social media accounts. While it’s an unfortunate occurrence, children who are experiencing a lot of harassment online may need to delete their social media profiles for the sake of their mental health. While this is unfair, there’s not much that can be done about the bullying, especially if the offending child’s parents are unwilling to get involved. 

If You’ve Sustained Injury 

At Moxie Law Group, we’re committed to promoting safety in the communities we operate in. We create safety tips and educational resources to help prevent injury and promote safety. If you’ve sustained injury due to the negligence of another person, and you’re considering filing a claim, contact Moxie Law Group today for a free consultation.  

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