By Cara Miller, CA Director of Technology
On Tuesday we discussed what social media is, today we will discuss the benefits and effects of social media.
How does Social Media make them feel?
For most users of social media, online social life and offline social life are one and the same and include similar highs and lows. The unique difference with social media is users have instant reach to a wide audience very quickly, giving kids an opportunity to magnify their lives in a way that’s different from the offline experience. Social media platforms are central to every aspect of teens’ lives, from how they stay in touch with friends, determine the popular trends and even engage with such topics as politics, music and fashion.
Are their benefits to Social Media?
Many children use social media as a means of personal creativity or expression. It allows for connections with those of similar interests.
It allows them the ability to stay in touch with friends and provides easy and instant communication. Social media allows for instant information on news, sports and other social events.
This influx of information could provide a great opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your kids about what they view and watch. Parents can make it an opportunity to discuss happenings and share how they feel about topics they have seen or read about on social media.
There are also teachable moments in how to deal with digital drama. Digital drama isn’t all that different than normal social drama, but the lessons can begin early on how to properly respond to comments or posts online. Teaching children that comments and posts created without proper evaluation of the widespread audience can be one that saves potential digital drama or harm somewhere down the road.
How much is too much?
There are no easy answers when trying to determine how much screen time or social media is enough. It really depends on the child. If your child will put the device down to pursue a more interesting hobby you are probably teaching a good balance. Less time on social media may be beneficial for some, especially becoming more intentional in how they use social media. Following people who enrich them, and adjusting notifications so that devices become less distracting, are all steps in the right direction.
Social networking provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal relationships in life, but when we use social networks as a substitute for relationships we face the risk of voiding our lives of meaningful and valuable connections.
The answer is not a one-size-fits-all for all children when it comes to screen time and/or social media. And, the truth is, there is no exact science in raising aware, thoughtful, empathetic and self-confident children. Certainly, modeling these behaviors in our own lives is a wonderful start. There is no doubt that our children are exposed to social media, both good and bad, but the key seems to be in finding a way to ‘teach’ them how to handle the information and to process it in a healthy way.
As always, if you would like more information in how to deal with your child and social media as well as other technology issues do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.