children

Teach Your Kids to Be Social Media Savvy: 3 Tips

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Originally Posted March 30, 2017

 

Social media is just a part of our lives now (for the most of us, anyway).  We use it to run our businesses, we use it to connect with family, and we use it to get in touch with friends.  And children are using social media, too.  In the form of everything; from Twitter to Snapchat, to Musical.ly.

But we cannot just let kids roam around on social media.  We need to teach them how.  Here are a few tips on how to teach your kids to be smart, and savvy, on social media.

 

1)  Do NOT Allow Your Children to Have Social Media Accounts if They’re Not Thirteen

 

This is illegal in most cases, believe it or not.  Some social media platforms, such as the deceased Vine or What’sApp, require that your children are at least 16 or 17 years of age before joining them.  This is for protective purposes.  For example, Twitter says that if parents become aware that their child under 13 has started an account, that they should inform Twitter right away so that the company can terminate the account.

This is this way for a number of reasons.  One is safety, as many internet trolls roam around the internet, wanting to harm your kids with words.  But also because of online predators who wish to do more than just bother your children.

This is also for security reasons.  Places like Twitter and Facebook are free services because they take your information and basically sell them to advertising companies.  They know your internet history, and what you’re interested in, and what your age (if you told them the truth), gender, race, and so on is.  They use all of this information to sell you products, but here’s the thing:

 

They aren’t allowed to take this information from children under the age of thirteen. 

 

Our Services are not directed to persons under 13. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us at privacy@twitter.com. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal information, we take steps to remove such information and terminate the child’s account. — Twitter’s Privacy Policy

 

2)  Remind and Teach Your Children to Not Be a Bully Themselves

 

A lot of heated debate takes place on all forms of social media.  These debates range anywhere from “who’s the best character on the Justice League” to politics.  It’s very easy for anyone, but especially for unexperienced children, to get caught up in these debates and get themselves, or someone else, hurt.  Mean words often come out, and so do bad names.

Encourage your kids to stay away from public forums and comments under YouTube videos.  Though sometimes comments can be engaging, discussion worthy, and educational, many times they are just filled with hate and people who are trying to seek attention.  These people just want you or your children to respond so that they can feel better about themselves, and the last thing you want is for your kids to fall into this bad spiral.

If your kids do see a comment or a forum with something that they don’t agree with, and they feel the urge to yell at users across the web, teach them to discuss it with you.  Teach them to go to you, as the parent, first before they respond.  Maybe they’ll decide it’s best not to respond at all.  Teach them to reason on the situation, instead of react to the situation.

 

3)  Teach Them the Difference Between a Real E-Mail and a Fake, Phishing E-Mail

 

This applies to many social media posts as well.  Many times there are key differences between a real email from a company and a fake one from someone pretending to be a company.

As an example, many fake Google emails will appear to have an old version of the Google logo located at the top of the email, rather than Google’s current logo.

 

REAL GOOGLE EMAIL I’VE RECIEVED

 

 
 
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EXAMPLE OF FAKE GOOGLE EMAIL

 

 
 
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Furthermore, if someone your children follow on social media suddenly starts to post advertising out of nowhere, and these posts have suspicious looking URLs tagged with them, they are more likely phishing posts, and that user has most likely been hacked.

 

These posts and emails steal information, try to sell you services you don’t need, or may even install viruses onto your computer.  Teaching your kids how to be shrewd, and how to avoid these, will keep them safe, as well as their computer, and their personal information.

 

There’s of course much more that you need to do in order to teach your kids how to be safe and smart online, but these tips should get you started in the right direction.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

 

Teaching Girls That They’re Brilliant Starts With the Parents

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Originally Posted January 30th, 2017

A bit of a depressing study came out claiming that by age six girls didn’t think they were as brilliant as their boy counterparts.  This being said, it’s important to note that this was a small study, conducted in the US, with only 400 children — half of whom were girls.  That being said, it isn’t surprising that it was found to be true that people are negatively affected by stereotypes, and kids, who are especially impressionable, are as well.

 

Personally, I’d like to see a broader study take place, in more places around the US, and in other places around the world.  This is because cultures very drastically, even sub-cultures in the United States vary quite drastically.  That being said, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we don’t have to make this stereotype seem like it’s a reality.  We can teach our girls early on that they can and are brilliant.  But how?  Well, it starts with the parents.

 

EXPOSING YOUR CHILD TO STEM EDUCATION EARLY ON USING THE INTERNET

 

You don’t need to wait until pre-school to engage your child in learning.  This may seem obvious, but how can you do so?  There’s plenty of educational television these days, especially on channels such as PBS.  In fact, PBS has an entire program, website, and outreach program called SciGirls aimed to do just this — exposing girls to STEM and encouraging them to partake.

 

There’s also a few web shows to expose your child to, as well.  The internet is a great place to take advantage of, and offers a lot of free education.

 

Take SciShow Kids, hosted by Jessi Knudsen Castañeda, which will have been running on YouTube for 2 years on February 23rd.  Similarly, Castañeda also hosts Animal Wonders Montana, a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching others about animals and how to take care of them.  There’s also Crash Course Kids, hosted by Sabrina Cruz.

 

Of course, some of the subjects brought up on these channels may be aimed towards 5thgrade kids, but there’s no reason not to start exposing your children to them as soon as possible.  And if they have questions?  It gives you the perfect reason to engage with them on an educational level, and help explain to them something they might not understand right off the bat.

 

ENCOURAGING AND PRAISING YOUR GIRLS

 

A big step in letting girls know that they are brilliant is by telling them that.  Don’t hold back praise when your child figures something out, and encourage them to figure things out on their own when it’s applicable.  Help them out, too.  If your child fails, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a nudge in the right direction.  Failure is a great way to learn, but too much failure may bring about discouragement, and that won’t help the cause in the least bit.

 

And if your child fails?  Encouragement is different than praise in that it can be given without judging the failure or success of a child.  Encouragement focuses on the effort put forth, which means that even if your child may not deserve praise, they can receive kind words that will motivate them to try even harder next time.  Rather than taking the time to focus on the fact that your child failed at something, take the time to thank them or bring out the fact that they tried really hard, and that you’re proud of their efforts.

 

GET INVOLVED IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR GIRL’S EDUCATION

 

Parents — get down and get dirty.  Do STEM projects (or art projects or reading projects) with your children.  Don’t leave them to do these things alone.  The only way that your child can really prosper is if you get involved.  Let’s face it — children just don’t have the experience to go about everything on their own.  They need their parents to help guide them, and you can do so.  It takes time and effort, but isn’t it worth helping your girl gain a great self-esteem instead of waiting for them to become discouraged so early on in their schooling careers?

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.