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Keeping Our Kids Safe on the Internet

May 30, 2024

Girl for laptop working on laptop

In the age of technology now, parents have the added responsibility of protecting their children on social media. Parents always have the responsibility of protection, but adding social media into the mix is a new one that needs to be taken on, and quickly. 

Recently, a teenager made a public post on Reddit complaining about her influencer mom who would constantly be taking pictures of her and her sister. She talks about how “it sucks” because there is “so much out there about us and it’s what’s gonna come up when looking for a job, when I’m dating, when anyone looks up my name”. 

The post went viral with over 3,500 comments and of course, she’s not even wrong. What her mother has done for the sake of fame and business can almost be classified as exploitation as she has taken away her child’s choice to want to be in the public eye, and has forced it upon her without any kind of consent, impacting her future. This may not have been the goal from the start, but it’s definitely something that needs to be considered. 

Your Kids Have a Right to Privacy

Whether the mother in question had the intention to exploit her children or not, it’s something that’s still happened. Keeping the youth safe on the internet is a far more important aspect of the technological advancements in the world than ever before. With social media like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Tik Tok, people are often driven to look for a quick Like, or a Share wherever possible, without taking into account what could come of it.

Children have the right to privacy too, and data protection is something that is still playing catch up on the government and legal side of things, so matters need to be taken a little closer to home. 

Those in their early to mid-thirties didn’t have the added problems of having everything shared on the internet wherever possible, and there was still a modicum of privacy left when we were teenagers. 

If you happened to get hurt playing the fool, ended up kissing a boy under the rafters, or even did something as harmless as practicing your dancing in your room, there was never a fear of it being caught on someone’s smartphone and being uploaded to social media. 

It’s not just another “OK Boomer” moment, it’s a problem that keeps emerging and will continue to do so. The next time you decide to take a photo or video of you and your family, think about the consequences that could occur later in life. 

Safe and Responsible Ways to Use Social Media

There are some safe and responsible ways for kids to use social media themselves. It’s important to understand how social media works and how each and every platform functions so that you and your children can make informed decisions.

I let my son use social media and I see it as a positive for him. It lets him share part of himself with people he knows, whether he’s being a total goofball or talking about some real issues, he has an element of privacy attached to it, letting him share what he wants to share, and not showing people where he is. 

Our lives are now online, whether we like it or not. It helps to equate things to real life and comparing it to online. Would you be happy to show this picture of your daughter to 10,000 strangers in real life? Would she be okay with it? If not, it’s probably not worth posting.

Kristelle Siarza is a digital communications and marketing specialist

  Kristelle Siarza is a digital communications and marketing specialist with over a decade years of experience. In 2014,  she founded Siarza Social Digital – a 360 degree digital communications firm that pivots on innovation, curation and creativity. The company has grown to 20 team members working globally for the digital marketing agency.

Kristelle has consulted for and assisted several organizations with digital marketing and communications strategies for various industries, like health, finance, cannabis, retail and government. Her team has helped clients generate millions of impressions and SiarzaSD’s award-winning campaigns have received local and national recognition.

As a Filipino-American, she is one of Albuquerque, NM’s youngest business owners of minority status and one of the New Mexico’s rising stars. In 2016, Kristelle was honored as one of NM’s ‘Forty Under 40,’ 2019 she received the “Women of Influence” award, and Siarza Social Digital was honored with a ‘Flying 40 Falcon Award’ as one of the fastest growing companies in the state.

Kristelle believes in giving back to the community with time and effort. She currently serves as the president of the board for the Domestic Violence Resource Center, as sits as a board member for the Grief Resource Center and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

In her spare time, she’s a sub-par competitive kickball player that volunteers her time with various charities outside of her board work focused on children and Asian American communities. She has a baritone-playing, anime-loving son named Johnathan, and incredibly patient and loving boyfriend named Spencer.