Kids and Social Media: Pros and Cons
Millions of parents all over the world are horrified by hundreds of stories about cyberbullying, sexting, or harassment of kids online. As a result, they forbid their children to use social media – just because some of them misuse it. However, social media is not just a seminary of vice. In one’s capable hands it can become a force for good and add a real value to the lives of children.
Here are some positive points that social media have:
- It has a positive impact on the development of friendship. According to the statistics, more than a half of teens, who have a social media profile say that it has helped their friendship.
- No more solitude! According to the studies, teens nowadays feel less lonely despite the fact that they have fewer friends than teens in past decades. Social media creates a sense of belonging.
- A kid will always find support there. There are known cases when online communities and forums talked teens out of the decision to commit suicide. Social media can fortify a marginalized kid.
- It is a means of self-expression. It is the time to break down silos. Nowadays with help of digital technologies, kids can share their works with an audience all over the world, and even collaborate with children from other countries. Creative works can definitely win the recognition from the public.
- Social media teaches children to be good and to do good things. Thanks to the social media, crowdfunding is a new and important trend: now it is popular to be a Philanthroteen or a Philanthrokid. Children get acquainted with different issues they can help to solve and become a part of something bigger than themselves.
Here are some negative points of social media:
- Cyberbullying. Kids are cruel; they can hurt each other not even realizing the pain they cause. Now a lot of bullying happens online, be aware of that. You as a parent should not let that happen. You can monitor all the potentially harmful app such as Watsapp, Twitter and other apps kids install on their Android or iPhone. Most of the cyberbullying happens on these platforms where your can text other members.
- Explicit content. It is not a secret that the Internet is full of content that no kid should see. The access to this content is free; remember that.
- Online predators. You never know if the cute teen talking to your daughter on Facebook is acually a teen and not some middle-aged predator asking for a meeting.
So should parents allow their children to use social media or not? We think that it is appropriate. But! Parents should think about supervision of their kids’ online activities. Parental control applications could come in handy because they enable parents to monitor and control all online content: messages, videos, shared photos, personal data etc.
And don’t forget to explain the rules of secure usage of social media to your children.