Logging on to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is routine for many Canadians. Most adults don't think twice about the consequences of what they post and children are even less likely to do so.

Paul Davis is working to ensure students and their parents are aware of social media safety concerns.

Davis is a social network safety expert. He travels across the country teaching students, from Grade 4 through high school, and their parents, on how to use social media safely.

Davis says parents empower kids with technology then fail to monitor what they do with it.

“You've given them the technology, now with this comes the rules, guidelines and consequences,” says Davis. “This is your house, your rules, you're doing this to protect them, not to be their friend.”

“If they break your rules, take what's most important to them, the technology. Take away that smart phone or iPad.”

According to Davis, effective parenting is the cure for problems ranging from cyber-bullying to making private information public.

The safety expert suggests setting rules on:

  • Which websites can kids go to
  • The amount of time children can spend online
  • What type of things kids can post

If children break the rules, which parents will know through proper monitoring, Davis suggests the parents remove web privileges for two weeks.

Davis also recommends blocking certain websites and setting time restrictions for your child on your router.

According to the American Journal of Pediatrics, social media presents five potential threats to children.

  • Cyberbullying
  • Privacy Concerns – the posting of items that may impact future job opportunities and school application
  • Sexting – the posting of sexually explicit messages or photos
  • Targeted advertising – when businesses use a child’s Facebook likes to encourage spending
  • Facebook depression – when a child believes their worth is tied to the number of ‘likes’ they receive or the amount of social media ‘friends’ they have