The right age to start using social media

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - What is the best age to start using social media?

It is a question parents struggle to answer. We turned to WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions, for advice.

She says the age at which a child starts using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others really depends. Her advice follows:

Determining Age Requirements:

1. Your child should at least meet the minimum guidelines of each site. Read the terms of service for each site they use to determine the minimum age. Each site is different.

2. Sample site policies:

Twitter's privacy policy, states - Our Services are not directed to persons under 13.

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat - minimum age is 13.

LinkedIn: 14

YouTube is 18 but kids aged 13-17 can signup with parent's permission.

Tips for safer social media (for kids of all ages!)

1. Use privacy settings. Don't share home address/phone. Turn geo codes off so you cannot be tracked by photos or location.

2. Think before you post.

3. Parents - be where your kids are, use the same platforms

4. Set ground rules

5. Be kind online

Familiarize yourself with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule. Congress enacted the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. The COPPA rule requires the Federal Trade Commission to issue and enforce regulations concerning children's online privacy. They amended the Rule as recently as July 1, 2013.

The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online.

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