When it comes to social media and kids, there’s one important rule that adults should follow.

I’m not talking about obeying the age-limit rules for accounts. I think that’s important and I don’t like the fact that many adults are willing to ignore that and let kids head out there onto the World Wide Web unprotected.

My number one rule is more basic. You must understand every platform your child uses. And I say ‘your child’ loosely. If you’re a grandparent or guardian, this applies to you as well.

If the kid is on Facebook, you need to know all about Facebook its messaging functions. If your child uses TikTok, you must understand that app and how to access the account to see what they’ve been up to and who has been communicating with them.

No excuses. If that kid has a smartphone, you need to understand that smartphone inside and out. If your kids play video games, you need to know if those games have messaging functions that allow strangers to contact them.

You have to learn how this stuff works. If you don’t feel you can or you just don’t want to, your kids shouldn’t have phones or game consoles, or social media accounts of any kind.

Will your kids be furious with you? Probably. Will you have a hard time enforcing it? Probably. They have access to the technology through friends or even use their school devices. The safest option is to educate yourself, even if you don’t plan to let them use social media just yet.