Even as technology advances, smart phones and many mobile electronic devices are available quite easily and cheaply. This allows even children, people under the age of seventeen to get access to these gadgets and ultimately to social networking sites. Many of these sites require that for one to join, they must be at least eighteen years of age. This requirement is further cemented by the idea that to register a line or SIM card, one may need an identity card. However, despite all these requirements more and more children are joining social media. Some are joining it through their parents’ names while others just join for instance Facebook and Instagram which do not need any Identification. By joining social media, children may be exposed to a lot of information and things which they may not be ready for. Is there a way we can keep our children’s interactions on social media safe and beneficial to them?
A parent should counsel and take time to talk to the children before allowing them to join social media. Some children will join social media with zest only to be disappointed with the reality they meet. Some even become easy target of marauding internet gangs out to harass and bully susceptible youth. Once a child is counseled by a parent, he will know what to expect and knowledge is a great way of gaining power. A child will make decisions that are informed and once the trust with the parent is established at the beginning of the social media experience, he would always get back to the parents should there be need.
There should be some laid down rules and regulations agreed upon by the parents and the children on the social media use. If left on their own, social media can really be disruptive to a child in many ways. The child may end up wasting valuable time and even change their behavior as influenced by the virtual friends they interact with. The set rules will help the parents set the child on the ground as regards the internet use and this will always be a point of reference should there be need of action based on use or misuse of the gadgets and social media interactions.
Parents should device ways of monitoring the social media activities of their children. This may be a bit tricky, as the children with time may not feel very comfortable with this monitoring. They may device ways of evading the monitoring points so that they may satisfy their curiosity. This is where the social media interaction for the children starts getting dangerous. When a parent is in the dark on what their children are up to, the end result will always be unpleasantly surprising. With the rising cases of internet bullying and other misdemeanors, children are even more susceptible and should they be allowed to join social media, then the parents should be able to control some interactions. One can use technology for instance some mobile device monitoring applications like Autoforward. One will know where the user has been online, what texts or photos have been exchanged and basically what a user is exposing himself to on social media. Another way of monitoring which needs a lot of expertise and even training is monitoring the behavior of the child with continued social media interaction. This may be the best way to monitor but a child may act the part and only reveal the reality when he or she is beyond help.
The social media can do good to a child but one has to be sure that the child is safe while interacting. Even so, should one not be sure of how to make the child have a meaningful interaction on social media, it is better the child wait untill he or she is of age.
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