Why Kids Need to Be Cautious While Using Social Media Apps?
Kids and their obsession with social media is increasing day by day. It is hard to keep your kids off of social media apps. They demand mobile phones only because they want to spend time on social media apps.
In fact, a recent study revealed that kids and teens tend to spend more time on social media apps and their mobile phone than most adults. The use of social media is both useful and harmful to kids. However, kids need to be extremely careful about the harmful online dangers surrounding social media platforms.
Certainly, parents can consider enabling parental controls and installing parental control apps on their kids’ devices but they should also be teaching them how to remain cautious while using social media apps. Being parents, it is your responsibility to talk to them about how to use social media safely and wisely.
The Good Things About Social Media
There is a reason why kids are so much attracted to social media apps. With the help of social media apps, they can stay connected with their friends and family members as well as distant relatives.
They can upload and share their photos, videos, and statuses with their friends and followers. They can also enhance their creativity skills by sharing ideas, movies, music, books, and art. They can make new friends especially with people who share similar interests as them.
They can stay updated about the latest news and trends happening all over the world. They can also get in touch with their teachers as well as fellow students.
The Bad Things About Social Media
Social media also has a dark side which most kids are unaware of. There are several harmful dangers that lurk in social media apps. Adults can keep themselves safe from these harmful dangers but most kids and teens may not be able to do so.
Social media can be a hub for several online threats such as cyberbullying, pedophilia, sexting, pornography, etc. If kids are not spending their time cautiously on social media, they will be more likely to get exposed to these online threats.
Sometimes, kids can share more information about them on social media apps than they should. Most of the kids upload photos and videos of themselves on social media apps from their real profiles. They put up personal information on their profiles such as full name, date of birth, interests, home and school address, as well as the town where they live.
By putting up personal information on social media, they share their data with everyone they have added or followed on social media. The presence of personal data on social media can help online predators to target kids easily.
Most kids get contacted by someone on social media they don’t know or have never met in person. Strangers can make them feel scared or uncomfortable.
Online predators can get in touch with kids on social media apps and try to become friends with them by engaging them in sweet talks and gaining their trust. Once kids have fully developed trust with them, the predators demand inappropriate photos and videos from them. The predators can misuse the photos and videos either by blackmailing kids and their families or by selling the content to the dark internet for a good price.
Kids can also be exposed to cyberbullies on social media and receive backlash and threatening messages from them. Most kids remain quiet and experience cyberbullying without reporting about the incidents with anyone. Cyberbullying can destroy their mental health and may lead them to problems like anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
Instant messaging apps like Snapchat instigate sexting among teens. They use Snapchat because the messages self-destruct after they have been viewed. This app is used to keep online activity and interactions as private as possible.
Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media
The reason why kids and teens need to be careful while using social media is that they need to stay away from online predators, cyberbullies, as well as online stalkers. These online threats can pollute their minds and damage their online reputation.
Using a parental control app is a good idea because it will help parents monitor their kid’s social media activity. That way parents can monitor, manage, and control their kid’s online activity. They can also put limits on screen time as well as block/filter inappropriate apps and sites on their device.
Besides using parental control apps, parents can also enable in-built parental controls on their kid’s device. Enabling privacy settings on their social media accounts also helps kids stay safe online.
They can also put limits on social media use as well as device use. It is advisable to keep the computers in an open area in the house so that parents can keep an eye on their kids all the time. Also, the use of laptops and smartphones should be banned in the kid’s bedroom. Parents can also set some house rules on the use of technology. For instance, the rule of not using technology at the dining table can be made.
Most kids and teens tend to consider their parents as their role models. Therefore, it should be made sure that parents do not use their mobile phones or other devices too much in front of their kids. They can get a good example through their own digital behavior in front of their kids.
Last but not least, parents should make it a point to teach their kids how to use social media safely and responsibly. They should teach them not to share too much about themselves on social media and never engage with people who they have never met in person.
Having a meaningful and healthy discussion about social media safety with your kids will help them protect themselves from the harmful dangers that lurk online.