Use of Social Media and the Inherent Risks to Children

One of the hardest jobs in the world today is that of raising children.  As parents we have to protect them at every turn.  They will usually consume nearly every waking thought.  The angst that comes from the responsibility can be at the very least disconcerting.

Social Media and Children: The Good

Out of parental concern they naturally want to give their children a leg up on the competition.  In today’s world become technologically savvy means a good future.  So, parents have made sure that their children have their little fingers on the rapid pulse of modern technology and social media.  They are in touch with their computers, iPads, cell phones and any other gadget that may be coming down the pipeline.

These things can be a great benefit to our children.  Technology and social media help them to study and certainly there is an advantage for them to keep up with the world’s growing pace.  Yet, there are dangers lurking behind those silent keys as their fingers flitter across the keyboard and every parent needs to be aware of what those dangers are.

Social Media and Children: The Bad

For many young people it is the norm to wake up in the morning and rather than reaching for the toothbrush they will reach for their favorite gadget.  This is business as usual today.  These gadgets make communication easier and faster and enhance their socialization skills.

Since most youth lack the self-discipline to regulate their own actions in cyberspace it is up to the parents to step in and place guidelines and limits for their own protection.

Heard of the bully on the playground?  Now there is the bully in space.  Cyber bullying can cause untold harm to your child’s psychological well being.  If you notice your child’s mood changing, signs of depression, nervousness and wanting to be alone then cyber bullying could likely be the cause.

Social Media and Children: The Ugly

Teens and preteens can also find themselves in sexting.  That’s where there is an exchange of messages that include a sexually explicit thought.  These usually come in the form of pictures but sometimes sexually explicit language is used as well.  Your young teen may think this is humorous but the reality is that sexting can start your child down the path to pornography.

Socialization is the key to a young one’s survival.  They need and crave the approval of their peers.  This means that as parents there is a lot to do and watch for.  A child that spends an unlimited amount of hours online will end up losing some of their in-person socialization skills.  It may not be important today but one day when it comes time for them to find a job or interact on a job they may find themselves lacking.

Of course there are other concerns that parents may need to consider when it comes to online social media but the reality is that while it is definitely important to be on the lookout for online predators (and they are out there) those are not the only dangers lurking in your wi-fi.  There is also the danger from within that you must contend with.  The danger from your child’s circle of social media friends can be just as detrimental.

This is not to say that you should prevent your child from using modern technology.  On the contrary, it has become a necessary form of life.  But just as with any other thing you introduce to your child, training, monitoring and constant vigilance will reduce the risks involved.

Annetta Powell is a success coach of real estate investing, network marketing and internet marketing. She is an active trainer in the real estate investing and regularly writes about social media, real estate and internet marketing in her personal blog AnnettaPowellOnline.com