Social Media Safety Rules And Contract For Parents And Teens
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Social Media Safety Rules And Contract for Parents And Teens

Access to a World of Information Giving your child access to both the good and bad in the world is always a scary thing. Preparing them well is the best we can do, and most often it is all they need. Giving your child access to both the good and bad in the world is always a scary thing. Preparing them well is the best we can do, and most often it is all they need.

What Age Is Appropriate For Using Social Media? At what age did you allow your child to open a social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Vine, etc.)

  1. Under 10 Years Old
  2. 10 Years Old
  3. 11 Years Old
  4. 12 Years Old
  5. 13 Years Old
A Privilege, NOT a Right

Remind your child that access to the Internet and social media sites are a privilege, not a right. Go over the rules and discussion questions below (or use them as a starting point to make your own list of rules), as well as the consequences for if a rule is broken. Have your child sign the contract indicating they understand these rules and consequences, and they agree to abide by them. Sign and date the contract yourself, and then put the contract on your refrigerator or family cork board so it is always visible. (It seemed a fitting consequence to me that my daughter lose her phone after breaking a rule. She would lose her phone for 1 day on her first offense, 2 days on her second offense, and so on.)

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRACT

Rules

1. YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES PRE-APPROVED BY MOM AND DAD, UP TO ONE HOUR PER SCHOOL DAY AND 1.5 HOURS ON WEEKEND OR VACATION DAYS.

2. NEVER SHARE YOUR PASSWORDS (except with mom and dad, who must always have your current password).

3. ALWAYS HAVE PRIVACY SETTINGS ON (beware of apps or texts or emails that tell you to turn your privacy settings off).

4. NEVER FOLLOW OR ALLOW ANYONE TO FOLLOW YOU THAT YOU DON'T KNOW PERSONALLY (a "friend" you met online, or a friend of a friend, is NOT acceptable).

5. NEVER FOLLOW AN ADULT OR ALLOW AN ADULT TO FOLLOW YOU unless you get Mom or Dad's permission. (If an adult makes a request to follow you, let your Mom or Dad know right away.)

6. NEVER COMMUNICATE WITH ANYONE YOU DON'T KNOW PERSONALLY, AND BE CERTAIN WHEN YOU ARE COMMUNICATING WITH SOMEONE THAT YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHO THEY ARE (in cyberspace, people can easily pretend they are someone else).

7. IF YOU MAKE PLANS ONLINE TO MEET A FRIEND SOMEWHERE, BE SURE YOU YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO (again, people aren’t necessarily who they say they are in cyberspace), and NEVER MEET WITH ANYONE YOU MET ONLINE (which shouldn't be a problem, since the previous rule states you can't communicate with anyone you don't know personally).

8. NEVER POST ANYTHING THAT SHOWS YOUR LAST NAME, WHERE YOU GO TO SCHOOL, WHERE YOU HANG OUT OR WHERE YOU LIVE. (This doesn't mean you can't take pictures at these places, just make sure no sign or address is visible. Also make sure no name tags show your last name, and no stickers show where you go to school.)

9. BE CAREFUL ABOUT POSTING THINGS IN "REAL TIME" THAT SHARE TOO MUCH ABOUT YOUR MOVEMENTS. In other words, don't post a picture of you at the library after school, that could help a stranger learn that you are often hanging out there around that time. Another example is posting a picture of your family out at dinner or away at an out-of-town wedding. This will tell a stranger that your home is empty - making it a good target for robbery. Post these pictures at a later time and clearly state that the picture is not current (i.e. "We had a great time but are happy to be home").

10. ABSOLUTELY NO POSTING OF:

Sexual or suggestive content or pictures (this means NO pictures in bikinis or anything showing skin other than arms & legs, NO pictures where you are in an inappropriate pose or highlighting your bottom or chest, and NO pictures kissing or any type of PDA).

Embarrassing or cruel posts (this includes joking or being sarcastic, which cannot be expressed in words alone and usually gets taken negatively).

Hate speech or derogatory comments about individuals OR groups. (This includes venting about a boy who broke up with you, a friend who has wronged you or a teacher who gave you a bad grade.). Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say face-to-face to someone. Be kind and remember the golden rule!

Anything about yourself that isn't TRUE or is overly bragging (being excited about something is fine, as long as you are gracious and complimentary to those you competed against).

Cuss words, text-speak cuss words or any word that SUGGESTS a cuss word (I.e. Friggin or WTF)

Any content about, or pictures of, friends or acquaintances without their approval (don't post that your friend has a new boyfriend or your teacher is going away on vacation... if they want to share this information on the Internet they will do so).

Anything you don't want seen by strangers, future employers, college admissions officers and even your future spouse and children! Remember, there is no such thing as "privacy online (even with privacy settings) and everything you put online is part of your online reputation and will be available FOREVER!

Discussion Questions

1. Always remember that anyone can see what you post - now and in the future. Potential employers and college admissions staff often surf social networking sites. Who can you think of who might see your pages in the future (i.e. minister, boyfriend, future kids, etc.)? How do you think they will interpret your current posts?

2. Anything you create or communicate online can be cut, altered, pasted and distributed online. Once you put something on your pages, it's out of your control and can be taken out of context and used to hurt them or someone else. What can you do to try to avoid this happening?

3. To consistently avoid posting things that may be misunderstood, every time you post something ask yourself, “Why am I posting this? Who will see it? Could it be misunderstood by anyone who could see it?” (Remember that sarcasm is often misunderstood online, so you should avoid it all together.) Can you think of a time you posted something that someone misunderstood?

4. Many of the dangers on the Internet are not about what YOU post, but about what others post. If someone makes fun of you or tries to encourage you to say something mean, what should you do? Remember that other people may not care about their online reputation, but you do!

5. If you read a post that sounds strange, or makes you uncomfortable or angry, try to think about it from the poster's perspective. Ask yourself “Who posted this? Why did they post this?” Thinking this way will help avoid misunderstandings, as well as keep you on alert for dangerous people or online scams. Can you think of a time you were upset about a post or misunderstood something someone posted? Have you ever seen anything online that seemed dangerous?

6. When you are posting content or pictures that include someone else, YOU are responsible for their privacy and online reputation. Be sure to get their permission before posting, and then be very cautious about what you share. Have you ever been upset about something that someone posted about you, or about a picture someone posted? Has anyone ever gotten upset with you about something you posted about them?

Consequences

The first time a rule is broken, you will lose you phone for one day. The second time a rule is broken, you will lose your phone for two days. The third time a rule is broken, you will lose your phone for 3 days. And so on...

Signatures

Child: _______________________________ Date: ______________________________

Parent: ______________________________ Date: ______________________________

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