Social media for kids has always been a hot topic in parenting circles. With the ease of social media, it often inundated kids with content, images and ideas that could be harmful to their development.
Children are more likely to be hurt by something they see on social media than by something they hear in real life.
For this reason, many parents are wary of letting their kids use social media. The question remains, however, is social media really harmful to kids? Let’s start by defining what social media is.
What is Social Media?
We can define social media as “any form of online activity involving one or more people who communicate, share, post, interact, create, view or listen via some type of technology.”
Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest.
Does Social Media Really Affect Kids?
With the introduction of smartphones, social media has become easier to access and navigate than ever before. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and more are now an integral part of many children’s daily lives.
Social media has the potential to benefit children in many ways, including:
Building Social Skills
Social media can help kids learn how to use technology better by interacting with others on the internet. By learning how to talk about issues online, they can develop their communication skills.
Kids can improve their listening skills by interacting with others on social media platforms. It can also help them develop good group dynamics by allowing them to talk to many people at the same time.
Viewing the World Through Different Eyes
Kids will learn more about people, cultures and view the world from a different perspective when they use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
They are able to see how other people live, think, and feel from a global perspective. This helps them become more aware of what is going on in the world today and what kind of events may occur in the future.
It can also encourage children to become more involved in what is happening around them, by encouraging them to think critically about the world around them and how they fit into it.
It can help them find out what they want to do in life, which will help guide their decision-making later on in life.
Developing Creative Skills
Kids can use social media to develop creative skills. This can help them express themselves better through social media. It will also encourage them to be more open about their thoughts and ideas, which is great for their confidence.
What Happens When Kids Use Too Much Social Media?
Using too much social media, kids now face a lot of different things, and a lot of time they take parts in things they are not ready for. They are being exposed to the dangers of the internet and social media in ways that they should not be.
Kids need to learn from their mistakes when they are young, and it would be a shame if they were deprived of that opportunity due to inappropriate content on social media. Kids get more negative feedback than positive.
They are more concerned with their appearance, how others perceive them, and less concerned with doing the right thing. When they over-dependent on social media, it may cause increases in aggression in them.
Social media gives kids a false sense of popularity and confidence. It triggers children’s anger, aggression and envy by causing them to feel left out of social interaction. They are left to compare themselves to others, which results in jealousy and anger.
This leaves them more likely to act out or become aggressive because they are unable to control their emotions.
What should parents do?
There are numerous ways that parents can make sure their kids do not spend too much time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. First, parents should limit the amount of time their kids spend using social media.
For parents who do not want to limit their kids’ access to social media, there are several precautions to be considered:
First, parents should talk to their kids about the types of behaviours that are acceptable in person and online so that they can make informed decisions about what type of behaviour is appropriate for them in different situations.
Second, parents should help their kids to develop the skills they need to be able to navigate online spaces. For example, parents should encourage their children to be mindful of how they are using social media and explain the consequences of using it negatively.
Parents should help their children become aware of when they are posting too much information about themselves online and show them how to delete their accounts when necessary.
They should also talk with their kids about what type of information they want them to share with others online so that they can avoid sharing sensitive information or personal photos in public spaces.
Parents should also teach their children how to protect themselves from being bullied on social media sites and explain the importance of keeping personal information private.
Parents should teach their kids about the difference between online and offline communication so that they can better understand how to be respectful in both spaces.
Lastly, parents should talk with their kids about how they can limit time spent on social media and what types of activities are appropriate for them to do in different situations.
Social media can lead to a lot of self-esteem issues and a lot of other issues that lead to unhealthy behaviour. It is important for parents to monitor their children’s social media use and make sure that they are not using it inappropriately.
It is also important for parents to be careful about what their children are viewing on social media and make sure that they do not expose them to things that they should not see.
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