For military families, social media provides our kids with the opportunity to stay connected with their deployed moms and dads, thousands of miles away, at no cost. Moving from base to base, it also lets them keep in touch with friends separated by many miles and time zones. We want to foster these relationships, but as much as we attempt to be proactive and teach them right from wrong, we often don’t know what our teens are doing online.

And let’s face it, our kids are all online. Raising them in the world of social media isn’t an easy task; as soon as we learn one app it seems they have moved on to the next. As parents, we are always looking for ways to keep them safe and secure while online.

 

 

 

Earlier this summer, Facebook invited us to participate in a roundtable conversation at its office in Austin. We joined Facebook’s safety team in a discussion to learn about its online safety procedures and to discuss new tips and tools we think would be helpful as we teach our kids to become good digital citizens.

In Austin, we had the opportunity to share our concerns directly with Facebook and learn and about their Parents Portal (www.facebook.com/safety/parents), a one stop shop for links, tips, and tricks designed to help parents guide our kids’ social media experience. The portal offers expert advice, safety tools, and a hub for information on bullying prevention developed with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

 

 

Our kids have always been more tech savvy than we are, and the reality is that the more proactive we can be with teaching them basic online safety and learning the tools ourselves, the more they will benefit from the opportunities of social media and avoid the potential pitfalls. We learned a lot in Austin and truly appreciated the productive dialogue and great exchange of ideas.

Written By: Bana Miller, Blue Star Families Communication Manager