In this age of technological progress, it is important for our children to know how to use today’s technology but at what cost? How do we find the silver lining between an appropriate amount of time on the internet and addiction to it?
A child is online as safe as their parents allow them to be.
The positive effect of Social Media on children and teens
Social media can have a positive impact when used for learning new things and engaging in activities that are educational. There are many free resources and courses online that children and adults can take to self-discipline and self-educate. A child can find support and advice online from other children and grown-ups.
Social media can expand a child horizon and can to help him become more creative, competitive. They can get involved in the things that they are interested in and can be used as a journey to self-discovery and self-motivation.
The negative effect of Social Media on children and teens
Unfortunately, there are also a few negative effects of social media, like cyberbullying. This can lead to depression and anxiety amongst children, mainly teenagers.
Social media can be used by people with bad intentions and it could lead to a crime or kidnap. Privacy is important and it is a parents job to sure that the child is safe and aware of the privacy settings on different platforms used. Social media can cause addiction and should be used in moderation.
A study conducted by University of Michigan in 2013 shows the effect of Facebook on teenagers. The longer they use Facebook, the least happier they were with their lives. Research also shows that adolescents are strongly influenced by their peers online. They are constantly seeking approval, which can make them easy to manipulate.
With regards to girls, social media can lead to very low self-esteem imagine after following the unattainable standards of beauty promoted on social platforms today.
What can a parent do to monitor and prevent?
As a parent, you can talk to your children about cyberbullying and how they can gently give their opinion in a non-harmful way, without offending others online. A parent can make children aware of the impact each activity has on their health and their lives and what can happen if they send naked pictures or talk to a stranger online, or even worse, decide to meet him.
In order to prevent children and teenagers from psychological and physical damage, parents should closely monitor and restrict the use of the internet. Researchers suggest that the best impact was found when used two hours a day on average. There are some good apps and software that can help monitor online activity. I will link them in the resource box.
Parents are a constant example because children learn by imitating and they will copy what they see. When your child sees you using the Internet in a positive manner, they will start doing the same. Teach them that the Internet is a wonderful thing useful for research purposes and communication with friends. If you are always writing positive comments and words of encouragement, they will do the same. It is our job to educate our children about interacting with others and to always being kind.
It is a great idea to start using some sort of monitoring app or software. You have to consider how to do this in a non-intrusive way. Make your child is aware that you are going to install the software on their device and get them on board. Young children can easily get excited when you explain to them how that is to keep them safe even when you are not around.
Resources for parents
Qustodio (iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook) – $55 per year – Software that can block monitor and limit screen time.
ESET Parental Control (Android) – $30 per year- This app lets you help them navigate online, manage what apps and websites they use and you can also locate your child.
Pumpic (iOS and Android) – $15 per month – Monitor mobile phone usage, follow online activity and control a device remotely.
Kidlogger.net – Free to $90 per year: Monitor conversations and photos, app monitor and location monitor.
OurPact (iOS) – $2-$5 per month for full services – Blocka Internet and apps, schedule device use.