Social Networks: 5 Ways They Can Harm Your Kids
Social networks thrive as they’ve never thrived before. It is quite difficult today to find people who are not registered at this or that social platform. And kids and teens are not the exceptions. Even though many social networks have age restrictions, it is not a problem for them to ignore these restrictions and to register anyway.
There have been many disputes and discussions as to whether parents should allow their kids to use social platforms. Despite those discussions and their results, the majority of teens and tweens do have at least one profile online. Parents don’t seem to pay much attention to it, ignoring all the negative sides of the excessive usage of the networks. Here are just some of them.
– Decrease of analytical thinking skills
Kids consume a lot of information on the Internet. They read numerous posts and news stories. They tend to believe that the information that gets a lot of likes and shares is automatically trustworthy no matter who wrote it and what it says. Kids don’t analyze the information itself; they analyze people’s reaction and appreciation. Thus, they may believe anything that has popularity labels on it. Such thinking model jumps from the virtual life into the real one making kids struggle when they have to process any information.
– Problems in real world
The excessive usage of social media can bring to behavior problems in real life. The amount of kids’ interaction with people can decrease greatly. Before the Internet, kids acquired communication skills by talking to each other; they had to put some effort into starting a conversation and be initiative. Social networks simplify all that.
The thing is that online any discomfort can be stopped by just leaving a site, ending a conversation, deleting the account, etc. If a teen faces communication problems in real life, it may end up by stopping any real conversation and going into the virtual life as everything is much easier there and you have hundreds of friends who “love” you even though you\’ve never met.
– Online harassment
This is another harsh thing about social networks. Around 43% of kids have been bullied online; 70% say they\’ve frequently seen cyberbullying. Although regular bullying still prevails, cyberbullying becomes much more widespread and intertwines with the physical harassments; the majority of those bullied in schools are bullied online, too. This affects kids twice as hard and brings more emotional damages.
Becoming addicted to a virtual world is a major problem among kids and teens. Have you noticed what your teenager does first thing in the morning? The research says that 90% of young people wake up with their devices. They check whether they get new messages, look through their newsfeed, see if their friends posted any new pictures or chat with their peers. Try to take their phone away even for a day and you’ll see the reaction similar to drug addiction – the majority would beg to give their phone back and feel very bad without it.
– Decreased productivity
The report says that teens in the US spend more than six hours per day using media, and a big part of that goes to social networks. Many teens admit that they use social media while doing their homework saying that it doesn’t affect their results. Well, it actually does. Kids get distracted by the excessive amount of information, photos, messages, etc. and either don’t do their homework at all, or do it much worse than they can potentially do.
Saying that social networks are a bad thing is wrong. They offer many advantages and positive things for users. As with anything else, you just need to use it right and teach your kids that, too. Allowing them to limitlessly use social media, you open doors to all those negative sides and their consequences. Forbidding teens to use social networks at all may be a dangerous path, as you’d separate them from all of their friends, but controlling the whole process of using such platforms is a must.