Safer Internet Day: Facebook Inc Top 10 Safety Tips for Parents

Facebook in partnership with Watoto Watch Network work together for a Safer Internet

(L-R) Online Safety Influencer Janet Mbugua, Internet Safety Expert Dr. Bright Gameli, Watoto Watch Network Director Lilian Kariuki and Mercy Ndegwa, Head of Public Policy EA Facebook East Africa at iHub to mark Safer Internet Day 2020

Safer Internet Day 2020 was marked on February 14 in Kenya with Facebook partnering with Watoto Watch Network speaking about initiatives that create a safer and better internet, where everybody is able to use technology responsibly, respectfully, creatively and critically.

The theme of Safer Internet Day 2020 was “together for a better internet” that brought together young people, safety experts, influencers and parents to discuss online child safety and explore ways to better understand the challenges and opportunities that children and young people face online. 

Facebook’s Head of Public Policy Mercy Ndegwa said; “Every day, millions of people across East Africa use Facebook and Instagram to share and connect with their communities. We recognize the important role we play in creating a safe space, that’s why we offer a range of tools on our platforms to give people full control over their experience and work with our partners to drive awareness about the practices, resources, and tools people can use to protect their online wellbeing”.

 Watoto Watch Network Executive Director Lilian Kariuki added; “With many young people using social media and being online daily, at Watoto Watch Network, our focus is on using digital literacy education that focuses on encouraging the young people and their parents to emulate good online safety habits.”      

Safer Internet Day is celebrated every year on the second day of the second week of February.

Google Launches $1 million Be Internet Awesome Campaign in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa 

  1. Start a conversation with your child early, before they are on social media

Research shows that children as young as six have access to smartphones or tablets. Start talking to your children about technology, before they hit 13 when they are allowed on social media. If your teen is on Facebook or Instagram, consider friending or following them.

 

  1. Be mindful of age restrictions

Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be 13 years old before they can create an account (in some countries, this age limit may be higher dependent on local laws).

 

  1. Let your teen know that the same rules apply online as apply offline

Just as you might tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street or to wear a helmet while riding their bike, teach them to think before they share online or accept a friend request from a stranger. 

 

  1. Ask your teenager to teach you

Not on social media? Or, maybe you’re interested in trying a streaming music service? If there’s a service your teen is using, and you have no idea how it works – ask them to show you. The conversation can also serve as an opportunity to talk about issues of safety, privacy and security. This way you’re empowering them to show you how something works which is probably a nice novelty for them! 

Facebook in partnership with Watoto Watch Network work together for a Safer Internet

  1. Identify and seize key moments

For example, when your child gets their first mobile phone, it’s a good time to set ground rules. When they are old enough to join Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites, it’s a good time to talk about safe sharing. 

 

  1. Help Them Manage Their Time Online

Try to be a good role model. The adage that children will “do as you do, not as you say” is as true online as it is offline. If you set time restrictions on when your teen can use social media or be online (for example no texting after 10:00 PM), follow the same rules.

 

  1. Help them to check and manage their privacy settings

Once your teen has set up a social media account, they can use tools and settings to help them manage their accounts. Facebook has privacy settings to control who can friend them, who can see their posts, and if they share details such as their location by default.  Instagram offers many flexible tools to keep teens safe online including bullying filtering, caption warnings and sensitivity screens. Teens can also restrict unwanted interactions on their profiles and easily report accounts, comments and posts for bullying.

 

  1. Tell them to report if they see something they are concerned about

As we would in real life, we should treat each other with empathy and respect on social media.  For that reason, we’ve developed a set of policies (Community Standards) that define what is and isn’t okay to share on our platforms. There is a link on nearly every Facebook and Instagram post for reporting abuse, bullying, harassment and other issues. Our global teams work 24/7 to review things you report and remove anything that violates our Community Standards. We aim to review the majority of reports within 24 hours.

 

  1. Make it a shared experience

You can enjoy capturing family moments with film or photo and have fun together editing, adding filters and using the augmented reality features like bunny ears! You could ask them what their favourite thing is to do online – perhaps it’s gaming, or talking to their friends, or sharing photos together. You could talk about what you like to do online, and this way you’re sharing technology together – a great conversation starter!

 

  1. Trust yourself

Typically, you can adopt the same parenting style for your teens’ online activities as you do for their offline activities. If you find that your teen responds best to a negotiated agreement, create a contract that you can both sign. Or, maybe your teen just needs to know the basic rules.