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Online tools to keep kids safe on social media

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 20:36:15-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Social media is how many kids stay connected but it can also become a dangerous place. Getting to know the platforms your kids are using can help keep them safe.

The three most commonly used social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. All three of them require users to be 13 years or older to create an account.

Each platform has parent information guides to help manage your child's account. Parents can also learn how to check the amount of time their kid is spending on the application. Some guides breakdown the language of commonly used features on the app.

Another decision for parents when creating a social media account is whether or not your child's account is public or private.

On the Instagram parent guide, step by step instructions walk users through what private vs. public means. According to the guide... “If your teen’s account is private, they approve the people who follow them, and can remove followers at any time. Private accounts mean your teen’s content can’t be seen by anyone they haven’t approved. If your teen is public, anyone can see the content they post on Stories, Feed, or Live, and can follow them without needing approval.”

These guides also show parents how to block users or unwanted messages, and report comments or photos. Platforms like Instagram also have also built in filters under the 'Comment Controls' section, which allow parents to automatically remove offensive words.

But there are also other applications parents can download such as Bark. This application allows parents to monitor social media apps, text messages and other content on your child's phone. The app alerts parents if there is activity such as cyberbullying, online predators, mental health and more.

Parents should also be aware of secret folder apps. These are downloadable apps that create fake looking application folders on your phone. The app can look like almost anything, such as a calculator, but it is actually a secret folder where anyone can hide photos, videos and messages.

Click on these links to view parental guides for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat .