Teaching Your Child to Use Social Media Responsibly

 

Social media is deeply ingrained in most of our lives and is how we learn about what is happening in the world around us. It’s also an excellent tool for learning and can be beneficial for children. However, there are dangers to be aware of. In this post we share guidance from an independent school in Farnham Common on the lessons parents must explore with their children.

Review Their Profiles

Start by seeing whether they use social media already. This will allow you the opportunity to make recommendations and help them use it in a better way.

The Importance of Privacy and Utilising Tools

Privacy is the number one thing to explore with children when it comes to their use of social media. As the internet gives access to all, posts can be viewed by strangers and those they don’t want to share details of their life with. To help them control and limit who can view their profile, posts,and message them, you can show your child how to make use of the privacy settings available.

Stranger Danger

Another important step for protecting their privacy is adding accounts with caution. While it seems exciting, by adding strangers online your child puts themselves at risk and gives unintended users access to what they post. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly easy for individuals to mask their real identity online and hide behind a fake profile. To protect themselves from stranger danger, urge your child to only add who they know online and confirm with them in person before accepting requests.

Think Before Posting 

Children also must be mindful of what they post and learn to use social media responsibly as what they share may cause offence if not thought about carefully. Before hitting send on their updates, they should think about how they may be portrayed and the message they are sending out to others. They should make sure that it is not offensive and that they aren’t sharing any sensitive information such as where they live etc.

Online Bullying and Harassment

Unfortunately, the internet paves the way for bullying and trolling as individuals can easily send messages and disguise their identity. It is not kind and can severely affect a child’s mental health. Taking the steps above can reduce the instance of cyber bullying, however if your child finds themselves a victim of harassing behaviour online, they should know the steps to take. They should of course first come to you and discuss what has been happening, or an adult they trust such as their teacher who can escalate matters, and report abuse to the social media platform. Additionally, they should block the accounts the messages/comments are coming from.

Screen Time and the Addictive Nature of Social Media

Social media can be addictive and is designed that way intentionally. As we know screen time can be detrimental for our mental health, and especially children. Research shows a link between excessive social media use and worsening mental health symptoms in children. While it can reduce loneliness and help them feel connected to their support system, spending too long on the platforms can lead to increased body image issues, depression, and anxiety. To manage and limit their screen time, parents should prioritise family time, encourage children to socialise with others in real life and put time limits in place.

The age to use most social media platforms is 13 years oldbut it is your call as a parent to decide whether your child is too young for social media. If you are concerned about their usage, you can keep a close eye by having them on the platforms.

Last Updated on 3 months by Lavania Oluban

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