In the world of digital interactions, everything around us is getting quicker and smarter. So are today’s kids. They are way too sharp than yesteryear’s children and swiftly adapt to modern technology. And what attracts them more is the networking power of the social media and their several applications, where they could connect and share all their moments in colorful ways.

Research says 95% of kids are active on social media apps with texting, microblogging, chatting and dating by easily surpassing the age limit restrictions. Sharing is their version of fun, but what kids don’t know is that oversharing can lead to pitfalls.

What happens when kids share all their information online?

  • Sharing real names, birthdays and live locations can easily help online predators locate your kid easily.
  • Cyberbullying is a growing threat. Though social sites have improved their reporting features, online bullying is still rampant. With cyberbullies around, the photos and videos your kids share are not always safe. They may be shared without permission or harassed and bullied.
  • Anonymous chatting may pave way for a physical encounter with a wrong person.

So here’s what every parent needs to know to talk with their kids about sharing information online and guard them from threats.

What kids shouldn’t share online?

  • Real name. It’s best for your kid to have a screen name while online. If it’s for social media, a real first name will suffice.
  • Personal details like age, phone number, email address, home address and name of their school.
  • Live locations. Restrict kids from using check-in applications that share live locations.
  • Clues to current or future location. This can happen by tagging location along with photos or videos, or even status updates/tweets.
  • Parent’s financial status.
  • Passwords or information that may easily help predators guess the password.

What’s safe to share?

  • Status updates preferably on private mode that only friends and family can view.
  • Hobbies and interests like favorite band, food etc.
  • Decent pictures and videos without reveling current location and personal details.
  • Information about pets, its name, type, habits etc.
  • Opinions on current topics, projects and achievements.
  • Links to blogs if there’s any, making sure the blog doesn’t reveal any personal information.

Your role in safeguarding your kids’ online activity:

  • Know the apps your kids are using. Use them yourself to know how it works, and whether it is easy to stumble upon on inappropriate content.
  • Social media accounts are usually public by default, so instruct your kids to switch to a private account where information shared can only be viewed by friends.
  • Teach your kids about reporting harassment or blocking users when necessary.
  • Switch off location sharing. You may reason it may help you track your kid’s whereabouts but so can online predators.
  • Also, search if any of the previous posts shared by your kid have a location tag and if so, delete it.
  • Remind them never to accept friend requests from strangers.
  • Educate your kids about the consequences of live streaming. Almost every social app has this feature, which may easily help predators find out your child’s whereabouts.
  • Encourage kids to create strong passwords and change them frequently. Make sure they don’t share it with anyone.
  • Teach your kids to respect others privacy as well and never post anything about friends and family members without taking their permission.

In a nutshell, parents can set a good example by showing kids to use social media appropriately. Setting a family agreement on online usage and communicating to children about safe choices are better ways to positively train kids against the craze of social apps.

The way we parent differs from one parent to another, and it influences the way our children are brought up. Parenting styles are broadly classified under four styles, namely, Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. As parents, we don’t fall directly into one category of parenting but cross over a few of them.

What is your parenting style?

Here are the 4 parenting styles identified by researchers and their effects on children. As you read on, you’ll be able to associate with one or more of these styles.

1. Authoritarian Parenting

An authoritarian parent believes children must follow the rules without exception. Discipline, rules, obedience, and punishment are key. Kids are not given the choice of negotiating or encounter problem-solving challenges. Their opinion doesn’t matter. Parents try to enforce their rules, and whether the child likes it or not, once they break the rules, they are punished.

The authoritarian style of upbringing makes kids blindly follow the rules, but their obedience comes at a price. Often, these kids end up with lack of self-esteem because their views and opinions never mattered to the parents. Some turn out to be aggressive and tend to lie easily to escape punishments.

2. Authoritative Parenting

In this, rules are also made to follow but at the same time, parents maintain a positive relationship with their kids. Reasons for the rules are also explained, taking into consideration the child’s feelings. Authoritative parents make it very obvious that they have control over the kids, but at the same time, their children’s feelings and opinions are listened to, and a positive discipline strategy like a reward system is exercised.

Kids brought up by authoritarian parents usually grow up to be responsible adults and tend to be successful in good decision making.

3. Permissive Parenting

Parents make rules but hardly enforce it on their kids. Permissive parenting is being lenient and doesn’t take much care to see what the kids are up to until there is a serious problem. They are casual about discipline, forgiving at every instance by saying, kids will be kids. They are more a friend to their kids and encourage kids to tell them their apprehensions and fears. Permissive parents do not make an effort to point out the poor choices and bad behaviour the kids acquire. Rather, they let them experience and face the consequences.

The lack of guidance could potentially lead to non-performance of kids in academics, have low self-esteem, and health issues.

4. Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parents usually do not participate in their kids’ life. Uninvolved parents do not make an effort to know how the child performs in school, who is his/her friends and hardly spend quality time with the child. They do not realize the need for parental guidance and nurturing at every stage of their kids’ lives. Though it is usually done unintentionally, as the parent may have some health issues or mental health problems that hinder them from taking care of their kids.

Children brought up by uninvolved parents are neglected and are likely to struggle in studies and have major self-esteem issues, behaviour problems, and be unhappy.

Above all these parenting styles, every parent will have his or her dedication and commitment towards being the best parent to their kids. A positive relationship with authority in a healthy way will nurture the kids while they are growing up to be responsible, kind, and talented adults.