As one of the most digitally-connected and technologically-advanced cities in the world, did you know that about 4.53 million Singaporeans own mobile phones? According to Ernst and Young, Singaporeans also spend more than 12 hours a day looking at some form of digital screen with social media browsing accounting for a huge chunk of this time—at a whopping 70% of the average screen time usage. While most of us might be heavy consumers of social media, some of us can't help but wonder if there are indeed positive effects of social media use.
With the rising use of social media amongst children and teenagers these days, some parents find themselves rightfully concerned that social media fixation will lead to divisiveness in the family, by becoming a barrier to communication. Contrary to that belief, with the responsible use of social media, it may actually present ample opportunities that makes family time more meaningful and engaging.
Positive Effects Of Social Media: Enhancing Family Time And Strengthening Bonds Through Social Media
There are many positive effects of social media and these are just some ways that proper social media usage can boost family ties:
Achieving mutual understanding and strengthening bonds:
Parents can learn a lot about their children through their social media profiles. Social posts often provide snapshots of a person’s personality, offering insights into their likes, dislikes and current sentiments. Parents can use this as a viewfinder into their child’s life to better understand them and also spark conversations to address concealed issues.
- Creating indelible memories:
With the ability to share content and tag loved ones, families can maintain a digital scrapbook of their favourite family moments, hangouts and activities. Additionally, social media apps are increasingly boasting interactive capabilities, introducing features that allow families to create wholesome and fun content together.
Social media app TikTok features functions like ‘Duet’ that allow families and friends to jointly create content and have fun together, as seen in the screenshots below.
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- Reducing physical distances:
Social media is also a means to bridge physical distances. Even if family members are separated due to work or studies, they can still communicate and interact via social media. And this is made more enjoyable with vibrant features like stickers, filters and music that may not necessarily be available on regular messaging apps.
- Setting a good example and exploring similar passions:
Shared interests on social media can serve as conversation starters, empowering family members to bond over passions and hobbies.
Some examples of parents using social media to create fun family bonding time by involving them in their hobbies such as magic and exercise, as shown in the screenshots below.
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Safety Features That Parents Should Be Aware Of
Increasingly, social media apps are taking responsibility to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for users.
TikTok, for example, has invested in comprehensive safety features including an active and growing human moderation team, filtering functions and privacy controls to combat cyber-bullying and harassment. Its digital wellbeing feature also alerts users who have been on the app for more than two hours. This means parents who want to limit their children’s screen time and digital consumption are able to control them through these alerts.
Most popular social media apps also offer users the ability to connect with friends and family through the sending of direct messages (DMs), and can be a great way to interact privately. It is important to note that there are several options for organising, controlling, and managing who can send you or your child a private message. Parents are able to enable or update DM settings at any time to stay in control of who can communicate with their children privately.
Positive Effects Of Social Media: A Powerful Medium For Effective Communication With The Family
With the popularity of social media today, parents who might be once reluctant to explore these platforms could look to leverage them responsibly to improve family time and better connect with their children.
Parents could see this as an opportunity to take the lead and set a good example for their children to follow, when it comes to using social media correctly and safely. At the end of the day, consistent communication is key to fostering any relationship.
Ultimately, it cannot be ignored that one of the positive effects of social media is it being a powerful medium that allows for effective communication between family members: one that allows families to create unforgettable moments together.
10 Ways To Keep You And Your Children Safe While Using TikTok:
1) Age Gate
A feature that only allows users who are 13 years and above to create an account, it prevents under-aged children from using the platform.
2) Screen Time Management
This feature allows users to limit their time spent on the application to 40, 60, 90, 120 minutes per day. Any further usage beyond the set limit would require users to re-enter their passwords.
3) Restricted Mode
This account setting protects minors with a machine-learning Artificial Intelligence that filters out content that may not be age-appropriate. It is optional and exists so that users can take control of the content they watch and receive. Once selected, this mode can only be reverted by entering a password.
4) In-app Suicide Prevention
This feature redirects users to an in-app suicide resource page that offer tips and hotlines so that users are able to receive help.
5) Risk Warning Tag
This functionality is added to notify viewers that a video may not be desirable for general consumption.
6) Comment Filter Feature
Allows the user to self-define up to 30 keywords from the comments in English and the user’s local language. This list can be altered at any given point.
7) Parental control
Made up of Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode. Parents are encouraged to set a password for these features together to limit their children’s time spent on TikTok such that they would only be able to use the app when parents/guardians are able to monitor their TikTok activity.
8) In-app Reporting
This function allows users to report inappropriate content or behaviour on TikTok to be reviewed and taken action upon.
9) Privacy Settings
With this safety feature, users are able to:
- Decide who is allowed to follow them
- Decide who is allowed to send comments
- Decide who is allowed to react to their videos
- Decide who is allowed to take part in a duet
- Decide who can send them messages
- Avoid undesirable content to be downloaded
- Create and edit a block list
10) TikTok is compliant with local laws and regulations to preserve the safety of user data
- Works with leading third-party cloud services and data storage partners to store and protect users’ information in a multitude of locations including the US and Singapore.
- Local laws and regulations are strictly abided to protect data privacy. In Europe, TikTok complies with the GDPR and in the US, abides by the federal, state, and local privacy protection laws.
Social Media As A Powerful Tool: Positive Effects Of Social Media
With the popularity of social media today, parents who were once reluctant to explore these platforms could look towards leveraging on them responsibly to improve family time and better connect with their children.
What better opportunity than to do so through taking the lead and setting a good example for children to follow? It all boils down to using social media correctly and safely in order to reap the benefits of the positive effects of social media.
At the end of the day, consistent communication is key to fostering any relationship and social media is a powerful medium that allows for effective communication between family members—one that also allows you and your loved ones to create unforgettable moments together.
This article is contributed by Ms Doreen Tan, User and Content Operations Manager, TikTok (Singapore).