As a parent, you want to protect your child for as long as possible. When it comes to the internet, and in particular, social media, it can be hard to know when the right time is to introduce it to your child. It seems that each year the age of kids creating social accounts keeps getting younger. As it’s impossible to restrict what your child consumes online wholly, it may be tempting to prevent them from using social media for longer. In reality, complete restriction might not be the best approach. It all comes down to proper education.
The benefits of social media for your child
It is inevitable in today’s society that your child will end up on social media, whether you like it or not. There are, however, some ways that it is beneficial for your child to have access to social media, and here are a few examples:
• Share interests with people around the globe
• Have fun with their friends via online games
• Maintain friendships with peers
• Get creative with profile pages, photo editing, video compilations, etc.
• Build digital media and technical skills
• Build a support network with a community of like-minded people, feeling a sense of belonging
The risks of social media
Though there are some benefits of allowing your children on social media, there are many risks involved. Social media is known to have a negative impact on mental health. If you notice your child suffering because of social media use enlisting professionals at Ignite Teen Treatment can help. It’s essential to understand the risks and educate your child to understand them as well. Here are some of the most common risks involved with allowing your child on social media:
• Exposure to inappropriate content such as sexual images and comments, violent or graphic images and videos, videos or images featuring abusive situations
• Your child may upload inappropriate content themselves such as embarrassing footage, rude remarks or provocative photos or videos
• Sharing private information like home address, phone number, date of birth, etc. with people they don’t know.
• Targeted marketing and advertising that they don’t understand
• Developing low self-esteem and mental health issues
How to handle the risks of social media
It’s only a matter of time before your child will become exposed to the world of social media. You can prevent them from creating accounts, but it won’t do them any favors once they eventually do. The best way you can protect your child from the above risks is by educating them on all the risks involved with being online. Talk to them about what is appropriate to post online and what’s not. Explain in detail why they shouldn’t disclose information to a stranger and the risks involved with that.
Don’t talk to them like a parent, but rather, like a friend. Help them understand what they may encounter online and prepare them for the content they may inevitably stumble on, so they aren’t traumatized when it happens. Ensure that they realize the impact of everything they do online so that they can make informed choices.