Social media: a paranoia-free way to guide teens

Not a week goes by without hearing some horror story about young people and social media. Is the web a dangerous place? Not terribly… provided a few rules of prudence and courtesy are respected.

The first three rules you need to know

  1. Protect your personal information

    Experts believe that you are at greater risk of having your identity stolen via the Internet than by having your home broken into. How do you ward off fraud artists? By protecting your personal information: passwords, user names, birth date, address, parents' names, phone numbers, social insurance number, etc.

    Signing up for social media sites is simple, but certain steps, such as privacy settings and usage rules, are more complicated. Since teens may have a tough time understanding the legal jargon, adults should summarize it, and, most importantly, emphasize the fact that it is a legal contract.

  2. Manage your image

    Once published, information, photos and videos can be downloaded and redistributed around the world. So we need to think before acting and consider that the information circulating about us is there to stay.

    Rumours, gossip, insults, threats… Cyberbullying is unacceptable and needs to be reported immediately. Teens who are victims may be embarrassed or even anxious talking to their parents about it. That's why it's important to let young people know all the doors that are open to them: adults at school (nurse, teacher, etc.), family members (big brother or sister) or organizations like Kids Help Phone, Tel-jeunes et Cyberaide.

  3. Behave like a socially aware and responsible citizen
    Think before you speak. The same rule applies to social media. Before publishing something, always ask the question: “Would I reveal this information on live TV?” Normally, the limits set themselves.

3 helpful tips for parents

With social media, as with the Internet in general, you are not trying to spy on your children, but rather to guide them and, as needed, protect them.

  1. Trust, but not blindly.
  2. Be connected.
  3. Never forget that the best protection is knowledge.

To do with children

Discover our educational activities on information security: