Benefits and dangers for children using social networks
Children in the digital age is
a topic of huge importance and must be discussed. We teach our future
generation, so let’s educate ourselves so that we can teach our youth. Today
the average age for wanting and having a social profile keeps getting younger,
so I am exploring the age at which children these days want to have a social
profile, the reasons, benefits, disadvantages and how to positively educate
your child and support your child’s first social media experience. ¨24%
of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread
availability of smartphones.¨
For today’s kids and teens, social media ¨is an essential part of their lives, much the way telephones were important to us at their age.¨ By talking about social networking with your child, you can help your child understand how they should manage their profiles later in life and the consequences that are attached to each action. Educating your child is beneficial as the future of social networking is evolving and more information is available at social networks. In the future social networking can be an educational tool that hopefully will go hand in hand with education systems.
¨The internet offers children access to information, communication with their friends and opportunities for exploring the wider world.¨ There are many benefits of being able to connect to the internet for children as they are able to learn and enjoy their experience, but this should be guided, limited and supervised to a certain extent at certain age groups.
Legal Age Limit
Due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act it is illegal for commercial websites and apps to offer accounts to children under 13 without parental consent
Most popular social networks require 13 years of age to sign up for an account such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat and Seeret. Twitter used to have an age limit of 13 but in 2009 that was removed and when you sign up, your age is not asked.
these are legal standards, what parents choose to let their children do or give
permission to do may differ. What each parent deems appropriate may differ
based on the restrictiveness of one’s parenting, on the maturity level of the
child and the social environment. What may be appropriate for one in another’s
circumstances may be inappropriate so this is very variable.
Reality of Children's Social Media Use
Children ignore age limits and sign up for social media accounts. ¨Three-quarters of children aged between 10 and 12 have social media accounts despite being below the age limit, a survey has found on Safer Internet Day.¨
Girls dominate social media; boys are more likely to play video games. boys are more likely than girls to own gaming consoles and play video games.
¨More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.¨
Reasons for children using social networks
● Friends & A place to hang out - As a child and teenager being able to fit in is very important psychologically. Nobody likes to feel left out. This is why sports, hobbies and interests are so important. Being with others gets children’s self-esteem, confidence, socialness and happiness levels rise. Group inclusion is very important and a part of making friends.
● Educational - children and teens are able to learn so much from the internet and from others. Therefore social networking can be an educational learning curve and a maturity learning ladder for children as well.
● Languages - ¨technology counts as one of our cultural languages¨
● Hobbies & Interests - being able to follow others to have interests in the same hobbies allows you to increase your knowledge and discuss topics of interest in shared hobbies
● Talking - expressing yourself and having freedom of speech allow personal growth
Benefits for children using social networks
● Social - social support can be found on social networks. Kids can meet others with the same interests, Children can feel valued and accepted. Children can make more friends quickly and learn to create and maintain friendships and relationships. This can be very beneficial especially for only children.
● Psychological - children can learn about life skills, emotional and behavioural skills all through using social networks.
● Educational - children can learn how to communicate better, improve their literacy skills as well as numeracy skills, learn how to type and read. Also they can learn about the world, news, life skills, interests and knowledge through the use of social networks.
● Creative - by being able to express yourself you are being creative. You creativity skills can improve greatly by developing your imagination though video, music and media.
● Intellectual - Children can develop their ¨ problem-solving and critical thinking skills¨¨ through the use of social media through apps, games and thinking about what they post online
Dangers for children using social
There are many dangers for children and teens who use social networks. It is important for all parents to teach these dangers to their kids, regardless or not if they allow them to use social networks. It is important to understand these dangers as part of one’s life skills in today’s world.
● You need to be able to understand your child’s maturity level in order to be prevent such dangers as misunderstanding context, disturbing images or adult material
● Inappropriate and adult material should not be viewed by children and it is a danger of being online, special privacy and parental filters and blocks can be used for this
● Cyberbullying is a danger and can be prevented with supervision
● Stranger danger and engaging with contacts off-screen, it is important to teach your child and supervise your child about not meeting strangers or people you’ve had contact with online.
● Oversharing information - it can be dangerous to overshare information. It’s important to teach your child what you can share and what is inappropriate.
● Permanency - Social media is powerful and children should be aware that there are consequences of posting online. It is difficult and sometimes not possible to remove what is posted. Therefore what you’ve posted as a child might stick with you forever.
Statistics show that:
● 17% of teens were contacted online by a stranger that made them feel scared or uncomfortable
● 30% of teens receive inappropriate advertising
● 39% of teens lied about their age to access social networks
Educating children to use social
There are many benefits for children in using social networks, but for it to be truly beneficial for children you must educate them on online etiquette and how to behave online. As a parent you must learn to use privacy settings and help your children in understanding privacy settings as well. Parental supervision and guidance to make sure their experiences is happy and safe. Parents and carers need to be aware of the dangers in using social networks in order to prevent such from happening.
My tips for educating children include:
● Be nice and motivational. You can teach your child the importance of technology for their future and at the same time motivate your child in a positive way to understand that each action has a consequence. Posting online can’t be removed, once others see your posts they can never be removed. Teaching your child to respect and be courteous online as they should be offline is important. Hurtful and embarrassing material is inappropriate. One should act in a way that they would want others to act.
● Before posting they should think it over. If they are posting something they perhaps shouldn’t then they should not post it. Children must be taught what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. For example posting your address online is inappropriate, as this could let strangers know where you live.
● Do to others what you would want yourself. Let your child know that their families, teachers, the community and future bosses will see the material, so if they don’t want those to see it then it isn’t appropriate to post.Privacy, privacy, privacy - privacy is so important this really needs to be emphasized. As a teenager or child it is important to only have your content appear to your friends and family, not to strangers. You should not be allowing anybody to contact you or being able to share posts with anyone.
● Don’t friend strangers. If you have strong privacy settings then strangers shouldn’t contact you, but your children need to know that speaking to strangers has dangers.
¨As a parent or carer you can work on your personal brand in order to demonstrate to your child or teen the benefits as well as what they need to be aware of in terms of inappropriateness and danger. This way you are educating your child for their future success.¨
Set a good example for your kids through a beBee profile where you create, showcase and share professional and personal content. By educating and showing your children what is appropriate and inappropriate on social networks is very educational for the future of your children. Technology, education and social networks are going to be part of your child’s future and educating them on privacy, benefits and dangers will allow your child to have a strong personal brand when they grow up.