Kids and social media. Good or bad?

Written by Sean Foo

Is it a good or bad idea to allow kids to use social media? What is the right age for children to use social media?

shutterstock 139568459  Kids and social media. Good or bad?

Read this article to find out just whether social media is a good or bad idea for your kid!

Kids and social media have long remained a contentious issue and for good reason too. On one hand, there are many benefits which kids can enjoy from engaging in social media. However, there are also numerous horror stories involving kids and social media which the mass media likes to glorify. Thus, it is no surprise that because of media influence, many parents are quick to condemn the combination of kids and social media as one that is undesirable.

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Kids and social media. Good or bad?

The world of social media can be a dangerous place, especially for a young child. Some of the biggest threats to children from social media include cyber bullying, invasion of privacy, online scams and paedophiles. An article from the Yahoo News website reveals some worrying statistics. A survey on Australian children showed that children are using social media at a younger age and although Facebook has an age restriction of 13-years old, many underage children are using Facebook. Furthermore, it was particularly worrying that 20% of ‘tweens’ have interacted with a complete stranger online.

While the dangers of kids and social media do seem quite alarming, there are also many benefits which social media has to offer. Social media is a great way for children to build up their social network and connect with their friends. In addition, due to the growing dominance of social media, children who do not join social media websites might feel left out since all their friends are on it and may feel emotionally or mentally distressed because of it.

So what is the verdict?

The answer to whether kids and social media is a good or bad idea is that it wholly depends on the kids themselves and how they use it. Social media is increasingly becoming integrated into the our way of life and it is safe to say that it is only a matter of time before your children jump on the social media bandwagon. Thus, the onus should fall on parents and teachers alike to educate children on the right way to use social media.

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Here are 5 tips to help your kid use social media safely

1. The best way to get kids to use social media safely is to educate them on the dangers of it. Once they understand the perils of social media, they might be more inclined to use it safely.

2. Tell your child that they should always come to you if they find something disturbing on the internet.

3. Children can be pretty nasty sometimes and cyber-bullying cases are relatively common. If your child seems distressed, try to get them to confide in you their problems.

4. Tell your child that they should always consult you whenever someone asks for their personal information online.

5. Block unsavoury websites to prevent your child from chancing upon them by accident.

RELATED: Expert advice: What to do if your child is being cyberbullied?

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