Social Media services such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are here to stay. With time, the use of Social Media among kids is increasing at an alarming rate as well. As parents, we want our children to live a meaningful life. We want them to spend their time in productive ways, but the internet has taken a toll on almost everyone including teens and children.
There were times when children were interested in reading books, television or video games but, unfortunately, social media has replaced it all. There may be some who don’t like to use social media, but the percentage is low compared to those who use it daily and not for just a few minutes.
So, what is making social media increasingly popular among everyone, including children? There are two main reasons. Some use Facebook for sharing their pictures and posts and some use it for entertainment purposes or gaining information. While there are many benefits of using social media, especially for teens and children, it has some negative effects too.
Social Media and Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that takes place when people use their mobile devices to threaten someone through messages or social media sites such as Facebook. Children who use social media a lot are at high risk of adopting a certain kind of behavior that can end in them themselves participating or be the recipients of cyberbullying. There are already many victims of cyberbullying, but more than half of them don’t even report it to anyone including their parents.
A lack of awareness is also increasingly causing identity theft among children. Kids don’t really understand how they can keep their information, including their photos, private on social media. They are unaware of the risks of making their personal information visible to the public. Such children become the victim of identity theft very easily. Often their accounts or information get hacked and used for the wrong purposes.
Sharing too Much can be Risky
As adults, we can control what information we want to share on social media and what not to. Children, on the other hand, are not aware of the possible side effects of sharing their personal information, including photos. They may put a lot of updates about their lives on sites like Facebook, which can work against them.
Cut Off from the Outside World
These days, we often see children spending too much time online in their free time. They hardly put their phones aside when you are talking to them. These children often forget and ignore the relationships around them, which is alarming. Having face-to-face contact is important for children to develop interpersonal skills, which are lacking these days because of the excessive use of social media.
Parenting in the age of technology can be challenging, especially when your kids spend too much time using the internet on their mobile phones. Parents can control what their children are up to when they are using social media. Just knock on their doors and see how they are utilizing their time. Have an open discussion with your children regarding the good and bad of social media.
Remember, you are their role model. Your children are going to pick up what you do. Give your mobile phones a break and try spending more time with your children. Take them out and involve them in extracurricular activities, so that they can live a productive life just the way you want them to.
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