Parental supervision for sharing

Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram and alike are so heavily used because they make it easy for people to share information with others. Many don’t know that sometimes, what they share is shared with the entire user base of the social network, not only with their friends. Even if now the default settings have improved, there is another problem that still remains.
Definitely, the most challenging part in dealing with social media these days is the ability to know what is OK to share and what not. I always advise young people in this regard: share only what you would trust yourself to say loud in a room full of people. If you can’t do that, then don’t share it.
But, even with this rule of thumb, many young people feel over-confident and still over-share.
Here is where the parental guidance and supervision must come.














Children and young people don’t think too much when it is about sharing. Try to explain them using these categories and use simple examples from their environment (friends, situations, etc.).

Here are several things which have to be considered when you talk to your child about sharing.

  • Something that got published remains there for a very long time, and potentially can’t even be erased anymore. Internet never forgets nor loses something because there are all kinds of backups, replications and alike. This means that even if you write in one place, the things you published might be used by other portals that aggregate that information. Once it is online, you lose the control over what is happening and you can see that the pictures you shared with a lot of people get tagged and reshared multiple times. The more exciting the picture, the more attention it gets.

  • Always read twice before clicking on Send – it is about the smallest typos which can make a huge difference in the meaning (yes, some of those auto-correct errors are real), and about how confident you feel about sending something that what you wrote might pop-up on a user’s screen. If you think that the recipient of the message would enjoy it, then send it, otherwise not.

  • If you send plan sending a message to someone, would you tell him/her that in a face to face discussion as well?
    Sometimes it is easier to bash someone when you don’t see it and this is how cyberbullying starts. If you wouldn’t tell that directly to a person then you shouldn’t write it also.

  • Your view on the things can be different. What you might find funny, others may find outrageous, disturbing or offending. If you want to make a joke about someone, think about how the other is going to see that before you send.

If you think that your children require some supervision, try using some services that integrate with the social networks and allow you to see if there is anything strange going on. You need a tool that scans, analyzes and alerts you to suspicious or concerning activity including:

  • Contact from strangers

  • Cyberbullying dangers

  • Inappropriate content/language

  • Reputation risk


All these and many more topics are in the free eBook "Improve your security" available here:

About the Author

Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since 2000 in the IT Security industry and until 2014 for Avira as Product Manager, where he was responsible for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Serving the security needs of so many different users made him think that there are other ways of to help the users: teachning them about security.

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