Social media are not only used by adults, but also children and adolescents. It means that parents need to be wary because there is a chance that their children can get the impact of social media. The impact itself can be positive or negative, but of course the worst thing for the children is the negative one and it must be prevented.
So, what are the impacts of social media for children and adolescents? You are able to read about the impacts of social media for children and adolescents below.
Disadvantages and Advantages of Using Social Media
As explained earlier, social media has positive and negative impacts. If social media are used wisely, it can give a lot of advantages as you can read below.
- It can be used as a means of communication with friends and family members.
- It can increase creativity.
- It can facilitate relationships with other people with the same interests and hobbies.
- It can open the opportunities to take part in various organizations and humanitarian activities.
Even though social media has a number of advantages, but it also can have negative impacts if it is not used wisely. What are the disadvantages of social media? Here they are.
- There is a risk to meet strangers that can make children or adolescents afraid or uncomfortable.
- There is a possibility that children or adolescents see inappropriate content.
- There is a chance that your children get bullied or even bully others in cyberspace or called cyberbullying.
The negative impacts above can happen to children and adolescents especially because they usually like posting their photos, real name, birthdate, interests, and city where they live and this information can trigger irresponsible people to make them a target of crime and even can be bullied.
One of the worst impacts is that using social media excessively can have an impact on their psychological health, such as anxiety and depression.
Safe Guide for Parents
Social media is easy to access because now children and adolescents have smartphones. So, it is not easy for parents to monitor their children when they are accessing social media. However, it does not mean that parents need to give up. As parents, you still have to monitor your children in using social media and here is a guide to monitor children to keep safe in using social media.
1. Apply age rules in using social media
Some social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apply a rule that to create an account, a user needs to be at least 13 years old. As parents, you have to tell your children that this rule is created to prevent bad impacts that can happen to them.
Besides, you have to accompany them when they are accessing social media. So, you will know what they are doing on social media.
2. Pay attention to the children’s activities on social media
You are able to ask your children to show what they are doing on social media. When you find inappropriate pictures, sentences, or videos, you have to give them advice to report it to the social media party and to you as parents.
Why do we have to give advice? It is because there are a lot of children and adolescents who are not brave enough to report bullying. There is a study which shows that more than a half of children and adolescents experience abuse on social media or other digital apps.
3. Limit their time to access handphone and manage the placement of computer
In the past, the time to watch tv and play games needed to be limited for children, but now not only those things that must be limited, but also the time to access the internet through handphones also needs to be limited. You are able to make a rule to give them time to use social media for around 1 to 2 hours after they have done their homework.
However, if your children access social media through a computer, you have to place the computer in a place that can be monitored by you as parents.
4. Privacy settings and special monitoring programs
Media social usually have privacy features which can be adjusted. So, you are able to ask your children to set the features based on your wish. It is done to protect your children from negative things and also to protect their social media accounts from identity theft.
You are also able to use software which can monitor your children in accessing social media including monitoring the words that they type, contents that they share, or other activities.
5. Give good examples
Children and adolescents often master technology devices much faster than their parents. Nevertheless, parents need to try to find out and learn the activities which are done by them.
If you can use social media well, you have to give good examples to your children. You have to make sure that you can avoid typing or sharing inappropriate things.
Well, social media is a part of technology development and it is hard to stop. So, the things that you can do as parents is to pay attention and start to set rules so that your children keep safe when they are using social media.
If you find that social media makes your children stressed or you find other bad impacts on your children due to social media, you are able to consult a psychologist.