PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Having a conversation about social media with your child or parent can be difficult.
JoAnne Waite serves as the clinical director at Day One, a sexual assault support, information and victim advocacy group. She says it’s important for parents and kids to have a two-way conversation about their online activity.
“Have it be a fun conversation. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom,” she said. “If your youth knows that they can talk about what’s going on in social media, then they have another outlet besides their friends.”
Today, the word “friend” can have a different definition depending on which generation you’re speaking with, according to Waite.
“[Kids] call somebody their friend, but it’s a person that they haven’t physically met,” she explained. “[Adults] typically would meet somebody, make eye contact, and have that relational aspect.”
Waite says it’s important to remember a friend may not always be who they appear to be online. She says if you’re feeling pressure from that person, it’s a red flag.
“Do they want more pictures of you? That’s a warning sign,” Waite gave as an example.
Waite says while it may be unpopular, knowing your child’s passwords is an online safety measure she recommends.
“A kid is less likely to participate in something that they might find embarrassing because my parent knows my password,” Waite added. “It’s not an invasion of their privacy—it’s helping them to understand privacy, that in this day and age, nothing really is private.”
Law enforcement officials say there are a number of online apps that could put kids in contact with potential predators. Here’s a list of nine they identified specifically.