Why teens should read the terms of service and privacy policies for their social media accounts

Why teens should read the terms of service and privacy policies for their social media accounts

Recently, people of the Internet got worked up over the Snapchat Terms of Service. Turns out that Snapchat didn't make any radical changes, but rather the drama came from the fact that most users had never bothered to read the privacy policy or the terms of service.

I think tweens and teens should read the terms of service and the privacy policies when they sign up for a social media account, be it Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

I know, they're lengthy, you're busy, legalese isn't fun. I get it. But tweens and teens especially should read those terms and policies anyway so because these documents make it clear that this is a contract and an action to be taken lightly.

In my opinion, if you're too busy (or too young) to read that agreement that you're making, then you are too busy (or too young) to use that platform.

It's okay to ask them to invest a little time into learning about a platform before allowing them to sign up. Perhaps that will make having a bunch of different accounts less desirable.

Also, maybe it's just the lawyer in me, but I really think that knowing what you are signing and agreeing to is a good habit to teach our kids.

Another reason to read the terms of service and privacy policies is that, every now and then, they contain really good info.

Here's my favorite nugget in the Snapchat Privacy Policy:

"But the same common sense that applies to the Internet at large applies to Snapchat as well: Don't send messages that you wouldn't want someone to save or share."

Awesome, right?

That is right up there with the explanation of the required age specified in the Tubmlr Terms of Service:

"You have to be at least 13 years old to use Tumblr. We're serious: it's a hard rule, based on U.S. federal and state legislation. 'But I’m, like, 12.9 years old!' you plead. Nope, sorry. If you're younger than 13, don't use Tumblr. Ask your parents for a Playstation 4, or try books."

Back to Snapchat and being careful what you share: I think we've all likely sent something that we didn't want shared. The consequences of doing so can vary from minor embarrassment to having a dramatic impact.

Having our kids hear read from the source of the share that they should be careful and not stupid never hurts.

I love what Scott Kleinberg, the social media editor at the Chicago Tribune, says in his nationally syndicated So Social column on the topic:

"Just because Snapchat's messages disappear and your Instagram account is set to private and you only share photos with your Facebook friends, never assume your content is 100 percent safe from people who want to share or screenshot. Just because that should be the case doesn't mean it is. This is why restraint matters."

If you're looking to stay up on the social media news and best practices, definitely check out So Social.

Prior Post: 9 reasons to talk about sex with your kids

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Filed under: Technology

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