Kids and teens use social media almost every minute of their time which keeps parents wondering whether they could survive without the internet. As social media and the internet become more popular, we are beginning to learn their benefits and risks. In this short brief, we will explore all the benefits and risks of social media for kids and the internet. We will as well talk about some of the best practices which are likely to create a positive relationship between the kids and the social media use.
Benefits of social media for kids
This is actually the first benefit that social media has for kids. It provides a very convenient way for people of all ages including kids to connect with their friends and their teens. This way, social media helps to keep kids in touch with their friends. This leads to the strengthening of their bonds with their teens. This means they all have someone they can share jokes with and at the same time share their problems with ease.
A recent Netherlands research discloses that children between the age of 11 and 14 especially those that use social media for kids report a higher level of friendship quality.
A nice channel to make new friends
Social media for kids also serves as a nice channel for kids to make new friends. It helps them deal with the pressure that usually comes when they have to approach new friends face to face. With social media, no one cares about being faced with the frustration of the silence when they approach someone Vis a Vis. What am trying to mean is that texting doesn’t need an instant response. This means that kids with less confidence will face little pressure when they are trying to connect with new friends.
Helps in Education
Social media for children also has a couple of influence in education. Most students especially the age of 14-17 use social media to share useful educational information about school assignments. It also makes it easy for the students to organize their time in regard to assignments and homework.
Talk about Whatsapp and FaceBook groups which presents a common mode of communication and for the exchange of ideas. Today, kids can actually come together through such groups to share information about school, lessons and upcoming announcements in regard to school matters.
As a matter of fact, there are many schools today that embrace social media for kids as a useful teaching tool. Though, as a parent, you should be very careful with social media. You should be sure that you have all the information about the internet and how kids can best use social media for studies. Child rearing especially those in school going age is a mutual responsibility of the school management and the parents.
Risks of social media
Besides all the benefits that social media for kids serves us above, there are many dangers of social media for youth and kids. I know you are now wondering should kids have social media or not but this will be answered soon in this brief.
This is not an issue with kids only; people of all ages are dealing with social media addiction. Children unlike adults may have a hard time dealing with social media addiction. Talk about those social media likes, comments, videos and stories, all these can be very overwhelming for children.
Although we said social media can significantly help children in regard to interactions and engagement, if you notice that the kid is constantly online or on calls with those friends, then that is a sign of addiction. It can lead to sleep deprivation which can be a cause of more problems.
For many children, it’s advisable not to stick to instant replies and those snowstorms of instant messaging. If your kid is using a lot of time on social media am actually convinced that he/she is neglecting other commitments. They spend a lot of time on social media which leaves them with little time to do other necessities.
Children are also at a greater risk of cyberbullying especially if they don’t use social media the right way. If there are no restraints in online interactions, you will easily notice a wanting behavior patterns. Most people will talk about Anonymity but one thing they don’t know is that it’s a two-edged sword. It can actually help kids overcome shyness and social anxiety. On the other hand, it can stimulate unwanted reactions including aggressive or hostile online behavior.
Invasion of privacy
When kids start using social media, they are exposed to the risk of privacy infringement. From the time they start using it, they start making digital footprint. This can actually bring more problems at the end of it all.
What can the parents do?
With all the risks above, as a parent you should be very careful. Social media for tweens can be very challenging if no regulations are put in place. In most jurisdictions, it’s a full responsibility of the parent to make sure their children are limited on the use of internet and social media. So, if your children are taking a lot of their time on social media, you can do the following.
- Set an example-your children will actually follow what their parents are doing. So if you don’t want them to spend a lot of time online, teach by an example.
- Use kids apps-The good thing is that today there are many social media apps for kids that can reduce instances of social media abuse. This is actually the time to invest in a nice social media app for your children.
- Suggest them to make their profiles private-If at all you don’t want their privacy invaded, tell them to set their private profiles.
There are several other things you can do in this case and so you should keep on doing something.
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