6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Pr 22:6.
This is part two of my thoughts on Battling for the Next Gen. I would like to talk about a few things that I have learned about kids and social media over the last few years. I would like to give parents a few things to consider.
Social Media is awesome! I’m on several platforms myself and I enjoy using them. I am not opposed to kids having social media when their maturity and age is properly considered. Parents do need to be aware of a few things though. It is very common for kids to have two profiles on a social media platform. This is totally a guess, but I would say 50-60% of kids on social media have two accounts on at least one platform.
They will have one their parents know about and one they do not. The intent behind this is not always to hide what they are posting, sometimes it is to hide what their friends are posting and saying. Some kids reserve their second profile for other people’s phones. If their parents are tech savvy, they will only login to their “not for parents” profile on their friends’ phones.
Kids often let others sign on to their profiles using each others phones. It’s the easiest way a grounded kid can get around it. Girls tend to be a little worse about this than guys in my experience, but it is certainly not exclusive to the ladies. Some kids who do not even have a phone, have a Snapchat that they check daily on other people’s phones. It happens folks.
You cannot completely stop this, but there are some steps that you can take to make it clear that this is not okay and to slow it down. For younger kids (up to 15-17 depending on their responsibility and maturity) if they don’t know their own passwords, it makes it difficult to login on other people’s phones. It also makes it harder for them to let others use their phone. If they get logged out and don’t know their own password they wont be able to get back in even on their own phone.
This only helps though, if you make the password something your kids cannot guess and you don’t write down the password in a notebook with the word “passwords” written across the cover and placed next to the computer. Kids are not completely stupid. You also will need to make sure they cannot download an app without your authorization.
The most powerful control a parent can have is a real filter. Something like circle by Disney, where it controls the content before it gets on the phone at all. Even this is not perfect though, so you still have to pay attention.
Password advice: Here is a simple method you can use to pick a very difficult password for your kids and hackers to guess. Pick a year. For example, I’ll pick 1776. And pick a character you like from a book or movie: I’ll pick Harry Potter. For this example I’m only going to use the last name: Potter. Here is a password you can make and remember using those two things: 17P0tt3r76*. This is not my password FYI. All I did was split the year, change the vowels to numbers (the number “0” instead of the letter “o” and a “3” instead of an “e”), and finally add a symbol. And all I have to remember is 1776 and Potter.
Then if you need to change it, just change the word or the number. For example: 19P0tt3r45*. You get a new, secure password and all you have to remember is 1945 and Potter. Using secure passwords on FB and email will keep you from getting hacked nearly as often, fyi, and it keeps your kids from figuring out your password.