|Children as young as one or two years old and teenagers have become hooked on their smartphones or tablets for games and entertainment / Photo by: Daisy Daisy via Shutterstock|
More and more parents are getting worried about their children being exposed to social media. And we really can’t blame. Children as young as one or two years old and teenagers have become hooked on their smartphones or tablets for games and entertainment. While a lot of children also use them for their school lessons and requirements, it also can’t be denied that mostly these gadgets are used to check on accounts in social media, especially for news feeds and other information that may or may not be true.
Worse, children can easily be addicted to the devices that they use. In the case of teenagers, they can even stay awake late at night just to be able to check their phones for any updates on their social media feeds.
What’s Good With Social Media?
According to Kid’s Health, a website that provides useful information on children’s health and well-being, social media itself is not evil; there are just people who either do not know how to use it properly or use it to achieve their dark goals. Social media is good when it comes to the following:
- Getting connected with family, friends, acquaintances, and more people
- Allowing for ease of communication between people living long distances from each other
- Providing a means to be part of a wider community
-Developing creativity through shared information online
-Sharing interests with other people
|According to Kid’s Health, social media itself is not evil; there are just people who either do not know how to use it properly or use it to achieve their dark goals / Photo by: sondem via Shutterstock|
According to Childmind, a website that caters to brain development and offers clinical care through education and outreach programs, some children have made social media a very important part of their lives that it has become a negative influence on them, making them feel anxious and experience bouts of low self-esteem.
In a study done by the Royal Society for Public Health, an independent, multi-disciplinary charity in the UK dedicated to the improvement of the public's health and well-being, most social media sites and applications have increased the feelings of depression, body image problems, loneliness, and anxiety in children from ages 14 and above.
It’s true that social media has become a new way of getting the latest information as they happen and an avenue where everyone with an opinion can be heard. However, not everyone on the internet can be considered responsible enough to realize if what they are posting is helpful or destructive. What’s worse, since the Web is a veritable open field, even those with a far darker agenda can get their audience.
Most teenagers could be at risk of meeting someone online who is potentially dangerous. Criminals simply know what to say to spark a teenager’s interest. This can be really problematic and can even lead to fatal circumstances.
Also, some social media sites do not have any filter when it comes to the kind of content users can post. Some of the posts may be inappropriate for someone’s age like nudity, obscene words, or even jokes that have double meanings. This can really affect a minor’s thinking of the people and the world around them.
One of the biggest problems your child can encounter online is cyberbullying. There have been several cases of such over the past year, and most children are being traumatized by what they have experienced online. This can also cause a child to become isolated, and have other psychological conditions that can affect him in his adult life. Some kids even commit suicide due to the shame they felt, even if it’s not really their fault.
|Most teenagers could be at risk of meeting someone online who is potentially dangerous. Criminals simply know what to say to spark a teenager’s interest / Photo by: Syda Productions via Shutterstock|
What Should Parents Do?
Even with our busy schedules, as parents, we should be aware of the things that our kids are doing, outside the school and online. It does not mean that you have to snoop around and check all the social networking sites of your child all the time, but it is your responsibility to make sure that they are engaging in social media interactions with the right people and in a safe manner. Here are some things you need to remind your child when using social media:
- Nice behavior is necessary
Tell your child that if they want to be treated nicely, then they should do the same to others. If harassment or bullying is apparent, they need to tell you immediately so that you can talk about it and find the best way to deal with it.
- Think before you click
Whatever people post on the internet can eventually be used against them, so it would be better to think twice before clicking that “okay” or “Enter” button. Private information should be kept private and not shared online. If your child wants to invite some friends over, they should do it over the phone instead.
- Check the privacy settings
Most social networking sites have privacy settings to protect certain information people have entered online. Check them one by one and explain to your child what these settings are all about. If you have parental controls, then this would be better as it can control the kind of content and interactions your child can have online.
- Never talk to strangers
The oldest but the most effective rule of them all. Educate your child that talking to strangers is a big “no” even when they are just online because they have no way of telling if the other person is really what they say they are.