Basic guidelines for child social media profiles

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, shares advice for parents on the important safety guidelines for your child's social media profile page
Guidelines for Your Child's Social Media Profile
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Basic guidelines for child social media profiles

I think a guideline for children to have their own social media - their blogs, their emails - I think each one depends on that whole entire family dynamic. But we want to make sure that when the child is younger, there are many things you can do. You can contact a cell phone provider and make sure all of the restrictions that you can put in place. You can make sure that you can do number blocking. You can set time limits. You can make sure that you can even see when they are texting, so if they're texting during school, you can block those times. As far as social media, certainly if they're in elementary school, a 4th or 5th grader, you want them to be able to be part of it, and all of their friends have an Instagram or have another social media account, I think if you do let them have it at that age, setting up parental controls is very important. Their brain is not developed to understand when somebody does not like them, when somebody likes somebody else better, or somebody says somebody else is prettier. So we want to make sure it can go through your account, or making sure before things are posted on there, that you approve those first. And I think that's very important. And the older they get, we start releasing some of those restrictions. And every single application and every single social media site has their own terms of service. And they do have different age restrictions on there. So you do want to look at that. But at the end of the day, if it's a younger child, and they're not in high school, and you really want to make sure you monitor it, look at the parental controls and make sure you talk to your children openly about it. You don't want to hide it behind their back, because many times they'll figure it out before you even do that. But openly talk to them about, what are the rules, and that you'll continue to keep talking about it as they get older.

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, shares advice for parents on the important safety guidelines for your child's social media profile page


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Tina Meier

Executive Director

Tina Meier is an internationally recognized expert on bullying, cyberbullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, the roles of parents and educators, sexting, and suicide awareness and prevention.

On October 16, 2006, Tina Meier’s life took a devastating turn when her 13 year old daughter, Megan Taylor Meier, took her own life. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately Megan passed away on October 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday.

Approximately 5 weeks prior to her passing, a 16 year old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye.  Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace.  A few others joined in and horrible and hurtful messages and bulletins went out publicly to hundreds of kids. The last words that were said to Megan from Josh were, “The world would be a better place without you” and “Have a shi**y rest of your life.”

Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, he was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, which was Megan’s former friend, and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home.

In December of 2007, Tina Meier, founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Megan Meier Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to “create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in our children’s daily environment.” Tina’s hope is to make a difference through spreading Megan’s story, create awarness regarding internet safety, and educate others on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. She hopes to help one child at a time cope with these negative social issues. Ultimately, her goal is to empower children to be the change and continue the Foundation’s mission.

At the time of this tragedy, the State of Missouri did not have laws in place to prosecute someone using electronic communications to cyberbully another person. Tina worked closely with Senator Scott Rupp and Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force for the State of Missouri to help pass Senate Bill 818, which went into law on August 28, 2008. This law amended the harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication.

Each year, Tina travels throughout the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issue of bullying and cyberbullying in today’s world to students, educators, administrators, parents, youth rallies, counselors, law enforcement, and other professionals. Through Tina’s inspirational and educational message, the audience is empowered to make a difference not only for themselves, but others also.

Tina has continued to spread the Foundation’s message and Megan’s story through national and international media appearances such as network television stations, radio, news shows, magazines and syndicated talk shows. She also accepted a Presidential invitation to attend the 2011 White House Anti-Bullying Conference, presented at the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools National Conference in Washington, DC, and served as a consultant during the production of the ABC Family movie, Cyberbully.

Tina Meier resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her daughter Allison. 

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