How to teach your children about social media

There are over 3 billion people on social media worldwide and it has become a must-have in our digital world that is run by technology. Everybody uses social media and if you don’t, you are considered an outcast in society. It seems that discussing children and social media is a touchy subject because a lot of people don’t think that children should be exposed to the world of social media; however, it is natural for children to be curious and have a desire to explore that realm. It is important for parents to guide their children through the process of social media and using their profiles because there are many online predators and dangers. If you are a parent with a child who is curious about social media, here are a few tips on teaching and guiding them.

Be open about everything

As previously mentioned, there are many predators and dangers on the internet and it is important for your child to understand all the dangers that exist. You need to have an open discussion with your child and provide transparency so that they can have access to information and so that you can create a safe space for your child. There is also the issue of harassment and cyberbullying that needs to be discussed with your child. It doesn’t matter which platform they’re on – Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter, bad things can happen anywhere. It might be odd for them to understand and difficult for you to explain that even when you share opinions only with no photo, as on Twitter, danger still exists. But, if you stick with them and have control over what they do on social media, a lot of it can be prevented.

Let’s say your child has a special gift, or maybe a disability, but you feel like there’s so much you have done about it and want to share with the world. You create an account, buy followers from an online service such as Growthoid, and your child instantly becomes an Instagram influencer. Your audience grows quickly, and people start appreciating and learning from what you do – that doesn’t have to be a bad thing just because a child is involved, as long as you dominate over it and you teach your child how to recognize potential danger. Explain to your child that they need to inform you if they are being cyberbullied and that they should not be the ones to cyberbully others. Teach your child about features that allow them to block users and delete and report hateful comments.

Set privacy settings

Social media is an open space so privacy is something that is very important. You need to discuss with your children the default settings and how they can adjust their sharing and location settings on social media. This is very important because again, there are predators online that are up to no good and these predators target young and vulnerable children who overshare on social media. You also need to discuss topics such as identity theft and how passwords are in place to protect users from this. Warn your children never to share their passwords with anybody. It is advisable to go through every single privacy setting with your child and explain them thoroughly.

Teach them limits

You should avoid allowing your child to overindulge in social media and you can do this by putting limits on their social media usage especially during the school week. A great idea is to create a schedule that dictates when your child can use social media and for how long they can be connected. Spending hours scrolling on social media is not healthy for your child and can cause them to start comparing themselves to their peers and even develop an addiction to their phones so setting healthy limits and sticking to them is something that is very important and should be taken very seriously.

Look out for behavioural changes

Social media has a significant impact on the human’s psychological state and children are the most sensitive to this. With online bullying and harassment such a big part of the experience that a lot of children are having on social media, it is important to keep an eye out for any behavioural changes in your child. If your child starts to agonize over how they are treated on social media, you should intervene because cyberbullying and online harassment can impact a child’s self-esteem and self-worth. Your child’s mental and emotional health is the most important thing so you need to monitor their behaviour at all times and create a safe space for them to talk to you about any problems that might arise.

As much as most parents do not want their child to be on social media because of the influence and dangers that exist, we cannot control the fact that social media is a massive part of our global culture and your child will be exposed to it eventually. Now that gaining a bunch of followers has become so easy, remember to be open to your children about everything, set privacy settings, teach them limits and monitor their behaviour when you decide to allow your child into the world of social media.

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