Just about anything and everything known to man can be found on the Internet. If a perversion exists, there is someone on social media cultivating it and seeking like-minded people to share it. This is the world you expose your children to every time you give them access to an Internet enabled device. Keeping your children completely away from the Internet is as impractical as keeping them away from all people. Use of the Internet and social media are integral parts of school, work, and modern friendships. Banning kids from cyberspace is equivalent to banning them from society. Instead parents must guide their children to make good social media decisions. In the same way parents teach them to be wary of sketchy strangers in the real world, they must teach them to beware those same types of people in the virtual world.

Ninomiya Law, PLLC developed a 10 step social media strategy for social media users and families. It emphasizes communication and transparency as a way to construct a good foundation for safe social media habits. In addition to those steps, consider the following aimed at protecting children from mature content.

Content Filters: This is software for computers and smartphones that attempts to block users from accessing inappropriate mature content. They are often customizable for different age groups. However content filters can produce widely varying results. They can allow access to mature content that they aren’t programmed to catch, and block content to legitimate websites that deal with news, health and education.

Internet Service Provider Restrictions: Many ISPs allow parents to set up user profiles for their children and restrict which websites they visit. Parents also get a detailed report of Internet surfing activities and attempts to change settings.

Search Engine and Browser Restrictions: Web browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Explorer also allow parents to control Internet search results. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing have “safe search” settings that filter mature content.

Smartphone Usage Restrictions: Parents can limit how their children use their smartphones. Restrictions can be placed on how much data is used, when the phone is used, and who can callor text it. Downloads can be restricted, and website access can be limited to a list of favorites.

Smartphone Location Services: Parents can pinpoint the exact location of a child’s smartphone, and presumably the child, through GPS.

Age Limits: Social media websites have minimum age requirements. While these rules are rarely enforced, they nevertheless exist. Social media websites rarely do more than ask a new user how old they are. There is no follow up if they lie. Parents should emphasize honesty and integrity by adhering to the minimum age limits and refusing to succumb to arguments like “everyone else is doing it.” Minimum age limits for major social media websites include:

  • 13: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, Secret, Google+
  • 14: LinkedIn
  • 16: WhatsApp
  • 17: Vine, Tinder
  • 18 (limit is 13 with parent permission): YouTube, WeChat, Kik, Foursquare, Flickr

It is important to realize that none of these measures are foolproof. If a child wants to see mature content and they are determined, they will find a way to do it. Hopefully if you raise them well they will make good decisions, but it is ultimately up to them.

For more options, see the Your Options page of this website or Contact Us.   

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All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Ninomiya Law, PLLC and Kent Ninomiya only provide legal advice to clients when there is a valid engagement agreement signed by both attorney and clients. The principal office of Ninomiya Law, PLLC is located in Round Rock, Texas. Ninomiya Law, PLLC is responsible for the content of this website.