The Digital Age has made it easier for anyone to create and share information. Social media became a favorite online platform to connect with people and be informed. However, children fall victim to different forms of online harassment. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, M.D, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, believes that most families today are becoming too digitized which changed how families spend time at home. In an interview with Parenting.com, she revealed that “Teens are susceptible to peer pressure and are also naturally impulsive, so they may quickly comment on an inappropriate post without thinking. This can easily snowball and become very hurtful to the person who’s targeted.” Parents are encouraged to get involved with technology as it evolves quickly. Learning about the different social media platforms will help parents keep monitor their kids’ online activities.

Here are things you need to know about the impact of social media on kids.

Oversharing information

Social media is about connecting with people and sharing ideas. However, some ideas should be kept within a small circle of friends. Sharing these in public (online) could damage relationships or harm other people. Most kids are will to share status messages or photos online without thinking of the risks involved. Oversharing information on social media could also lead to cyber bullying or online shaming.

Develop lower self-esteem

Some kids are suffering from low confidence and exposure to social media might lead to lower self-esteem. Other children may judge them by their online profiles, a number of friends or groups they have on Facebook. Being unfriended on social media or kicked out of an online group will have negative implications on a child’s emotion and diminish his or her confidence.

No “face-to-face” communication

A child who spends too much time online may not develop his or her interpersonal skills. Kids who lack face-to-face contact might think that virtual relationships are better than real ones. If they ignore the importance of relationships outside the Internet, it will be difficult for these children to succeed in real life.

Exposure to explicit online content

Social media content is difficult to moderate. News feeds on Facebook can be dangerous, especially if these are political in nature. Arguments, which can turn violent, on the Comment section could affect a child’s mind. He or she may develop a defeatist attitude towards society or become aggressive when commenting online. It’s dangerous for children to spend too much time on social media, due to explicit online content going viral.

Social media can be an intense place for kids. To protect your child from these negative impacts, here are smart parenting tips for you:

Ask your child about his or her online life. Show interest in the activities and people they meet while on social media. If you show genuine interest, it would make your kid feel comfortable sharing about their online experiences. Let them know that you’re there for them if they need you.

Remind your child that not everyone they meet online is real. Some of them pretend to be real friends but they can harm them in real life. Tell them not to share personal information online or agree to meet them face-to-face. If an online friend wants to meet them real life, make sure to accompany your child during the meetup.

Protecting Our Children’s Innocence

Subscribe to online security services for your family. MomSecure’s premium services can help you control your child’s social media and online consumption. With the help of our Cyber Security Agents, you can choose the social media apps your child can use or filter the content he or she can consume online. Explain to your child about these online security measures and why it will benefit them in the end.

Teach them to “unplug” from social media and spend time with family and friends. Set rules about device and media usage during meals, inside the bedroom or during family occasions. Encourage them to have face-to-face interactions with friends and share stories. Teaching them to balance their online and offline lives will help them become better citizens and netizens.

The impact of social media on kids relies on how parents teach their kids about its pros and cons. Good parenting will help your children navigate the online world, develop their online social skills, and foster their virtual identities.

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