These days, it’s hard enough to even keep up with all the new social networks popping up, never mind know how are kids are using them. BB, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Skype, Snapchat, WhatsApp, YouTube…. There are so many ways nowadays to share personal information online.
Social networks can be a positive influence, allowing friends to stay connected and as an educational tool, but they can also be a dangerous minefield for minors and adults alike. Cyber bullying, sexting, reputational damage and social media addiction are all very real concerns, especially for concerned caregivers.
For kids, social media is more than just a way of life – it can be life itself! But for many parents and teachers, this is a new world to navigate. But this new world is growing, and it’s here to stay:
A survey from internetmatters.org found that children as young as 11 post an average of 26 times a day and attract 100 followers to every one of their profiles – yet six out of 10 of them are not real friends.
Another study uncovered that:
- Over five million Facebook users are under the age of 10, even though Facebook’s legal terms and conditions prohibit children under the age of 13 from using the site
- Over 130 million Facebook users could be fake
- 60% of kids have an account on one or more social media outlets
- Kids spend more time online than they do in school or with their families
- According to a Pew Research Center national survey, nearly six out of 10 teens say they met a new friend online
- 20% of the teens who met people online followed up in person
So what should parents, guardians, teachers and mentors be doing to help our kids stay social-media savvy and keep their online lives positive and productive?
The articles on this website will help you keep your finger on the social media pulse. Education and communication are key, so spend some time learning about the latest networks and app, and get talking to your kids about how to avoid digital drama. Educating children about digital safety, empowering them, and engaging with them on what they are doing can make their social media lives a positive influences rather than a problem.