Let’s face it, kids love social media and they love sharing on social media. Kids connect with their friends and they create their own online presence. There are a ton of different things to learn and understand about social media. Turning a blind eye to social media is the last thing you want to do as a parent.
As parents and having cell phones, you understand that the majority of kids and people have social media accounts. While there are positives to having social medias, unfortunately there are some downfalls. Kids and teens can abuse their anonymity online and end up hurting others.
In this article, we are outlining the 5 things you need to know right now:
1. Talk To Your Kids
Instead of trying to spy on them or create your own account to spy on them, just talk to them. Ask them about their day, their friends, and get involved with their lives. Show interest in their interests and get to know the person your child is growing into. Share your experiences growing up and the things you dealt with and peer pressure. Talking to them will increase your relationship and it’ll also help them to confide in you.
2. Check Yourself
Watch how much you are on your phone. Be honest with yourself and really challenge yourself to stay off your phone around your kids. When they see you glued to your phone 24/7 regardless of work or entertainiment, they mimic you. Your kids will respect your rules more if you also follow them too.
3. Its Nice To Be Nice
Teach your kids that saying nice things online will not haunt them as much as saying mean things. Sometimes hiding behind a keyboard feels safe but the negative things they say can follow them. Treating others with respect and not engaging in bad behavior can be the difference between a bright and dimly lit future. How many news stories can you remember of high school kids or college kids ruining their lives with hidden cameras or wrongful uploads? Making social media threats against others or uploading inappropriate videos without permission from the people involved can ruin an entire future.
4. Social Media Depression
Going by many names, social media depression is one of the many things that can happen when a child is exposed to social media. Constantly being bombarded by “perfect” images of others can be detrimental to your child. Comparing their lives to what they see on social media can cause resentment to their own lives. There have been advocates against the façade of social media but when your kids see “Instagram models” it can hinder their own self image.
“The average teen spends nine hours per day using electronic devices, much of which is social media,” said Tom Kersting, a psychotherapist, school counselor, and the author of Disconnected: How To Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids. “It has become more than just a part of life; it’s now a way of life.”
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5. Check The Control
Parental control is exactly what it sounds like and is a useful tool to combat online negativity. There are plenty of apps that help navigate through the mess of social media. There are also parental controls in the apps themselves so be sure to do your research. It can take only a few seconds to check and be easily located in their settings of a cell phone or tablet. Protecting your child from accidently stumbling upon material not suitable for them can be easily stopped with parental controls.