Social media is such a big part of everybody’s life today and it is fast becoming something that most children and teenagers are using on a daily basis, even more so than adults. Apart from the usual platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat others such as online multiplayer games are also becoming and important social forum for young people. They connect with other gamers while they play. The debate about whether or not social media is good for your child is ongoing and here are some of the things that you should know.
What are the benefits of social media for your child?
Social media is an essential aspect now of any teenager or preteen’s social and creative lives. They use social media to have fun, maintain and build relationships, share any interests, explore their identities and is it also an extension of their interactions. They will also gain benefits such as being proficient in digital media, become exposed to collaborative learning and sometimes also help their well-being by getting them connected to support groups and the likes.
What are the risks of social media for your child?
- Exposure to aggressive and inappropriate content
- Uploading inappropriate content that could cause damage to themselves
- Sharing personal information with strangers
- Become a victim of cyber-bullying
- Exposure to way too much advertising and targeted marketing
- Being a victim of data mining
How can you navigate the risks of social media?
- Talk about it. Don’t let your child be secluded in their usage of social media. If you are an open minded parent and the child feels like you will be cool with them using social media, chances are that they will be open to talking with you.
- Advise your child on how he or she would want to be treated online.
- Explain to them, the risks of being active on social media.
- Understand the dangers involved in sharing content and personal information – this includes not only content that your child shares but also images of your child that other people share, or posts and images that others tag your child to.
- Teach them how to navigate the risks of using social media.
- Tell them what to do if people ask them for personal details online.
- Teach them about what a digital footprint is and how they can manage it.
- Accepting friend requests.
- Encouraging them to talk to you about anything that happens online that upsets them.