With technology available at the tip of our fingertips, it is clear to see what more and more people are engaging with the Internet, online activities and with social media.
Social media often gets a bad rap in parent and teacher circles, and understandably so. Social media is one of the primary places where children are at risk of cyber bullying, sexting, addiction etc. The risks are real, but there are also a lot of positive ways in which children use media networking sites and apps.
- Strengthening of relationships and friendships
According to a study by Common Sense Media:
- 52% of teens who use social media say that it helps their friendships
- Only 4% says that it has mainly hurt friendships
- Only 5% say social media make them feel less outgoing, compared to 29% who say social media make them feel more outgoing
And it’s not only friendships that benefit – children are also able to keep in touch easily with family members, especially important for those who may live far away from them.
- Offers genuine support
On social media children can find others who share the same interests or traits as they do, fostering a sense of acceptance and validation. In some cases, children with critical issues (such as suicidal thoughts) turn to social networks for guidance and support, as there are plenty of groups intended for these purposes.
- Provides the potential to do good
Social media provide awareness about important issues from around the world, allowing your children a chance to get involved with causes they believe in. They are given a voice and a platform to make a meaningful difference.
- A platform for self-expression
Digital technology allows children to share their creativity, views and projects in new and exciting ways to wider audiences than ever before. One need only think of Justin Bieber, who launched his music empire via YouTube a number of years ago.
On the flip side of this, social media also allow children to learn from the viewpoints of others and to become inspired by different topics and opinions beyond their immediate frame of reference
As a parent, it’s up to you to harness social media’s potential for positivity and help your children use social media networks to add real value to their lives.