Professional performers today need a social media presence. However, social media exposes your child actor to a much larger world, making it your job to keep them safe. Here are 10 ways to keep them safe on social media.
1. Run their accounts!
You must run their accounts. Most social media guidelines restrict the use of their platforms for anyone under 13. If your child is under the age of 13 be sure your bio says something like, “run by parent.” The age at which child actors can start running their own accounts is a judgment call for parents. If you do let your teen actor run his or her own account, make it a requirement that they “friend” and “follow” you in order to use the platform. And always check in to see what they are posting.
2. Clean-up your online footprint.
Before your child actor gets too much exposure in the business do a review of all the online accounts for your family. Make sure your family’s personal information cannot be found anywhere online. If your child has a website, make sure your register their domain as private so your home address is not easily accessible in a WHOIS search. Never use your home address or phone number on anything (website, headshots, social media). Always list your child’s agent or manager as the contact information. If they don’t have representation, use your email.
3. Grab your child actor’s name.com so no one can set up a fake website for them.
You want to control what’s put on the official URL for your underage child.
4. Clear personal information from Facebook.
Never divulge specifics or private information. Make sure your address, email, phone number, or your child’s age are not public on any of your family’s accounts. Nothing on social media is really private, even if your account is “private.” No one should know the name of your child’s school or where they go for daycare. Leave specifics for direct messages with the “friends” you are close to.
5. Do a Facebook photo audit for yourself and your child.
Make sure your child actor isn’t tagged in any photo you wouldn’t want the world to see, especially if your child books a big job. If they become a public figure, naked baby photos could end up all over the internet.
6. Educate your child actor about cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can become an issue when kids at school become jealous of your child’s success. Remind your child actor that though other kids may be jealous, they shouldn’t respond with their own negative comments. Ignoring a bully’s negative comments on your child’s social media is the best way to deal with them. But don’t ignore messages containing physical threats—immediately screenshot and report them.
7. Put your child actor on a social media schedule.
Don’t let your child actor check their “likes” for hours! Set a regular time frame for that task. Social media is only one part of their career and lives.
8. Check your hashtags.
Hashtags can help your child grow their following, but always click on the hashtags you’re using on posts to see what conversations your child actor is engaging in. Make sure they aren’t using any age inappropriate hashtags (even if they seem innocent).
9. Turn off your Location and Geotags.
You don’t want a social media post to inadvertently reveal your (or your child’s) exact location. A good safety guideline to follow is to post about where you are after you’ve left.
10. Practice what you preach.
Above all, model the behavior you want to see your kids follow. Sign-off during family time, never text and drive, don’t be a bully online, and don’t share details on your pages. They will follow your example.
Staying proactive and committed to teaching your child actor about online safety is the best way to keep them safe. Now that you know how, grab a free copy of my Ultimate Social Media Guide for Actors here. It’s a 30-page guide that will help you rock your child’s social media accounts!
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.