Teaching Kids to Be Smart About Social Media

Teaching Kids to Be Smart About Social Media

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Teaching Kids to Be Smart About Social Media

Keeping your kids safe has become much more complicated since you were their age. Locking the door and looking both ways before crossing the street barely scratches the surface of the safety routines your family needs to know about in order to stay out of harm’s way.

The newest threat to young people, however, may not be as easily noticeable as other dangers, especially when those threats are happening online. More specifically, teaching your kids to be smart about social media can be one of the most valuable lessons you can share with your family.

While in theory social media is intended to keep us connected with loved ones and friends, it can lead to devastating consequences when users abuse the platforms.

If you believe your child has suffered due to a preventable situation on social media, contact Morgan & Morgan to learn more about what you can do to make it right.

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  • What Are the Dangers of Social Media?

    As social media usage has become more popular for people of all ages, young adults and teenagers make up the majority of users. Most teens and even preteens use some form of social media every single day. Many of them are using multiple apps and spending a significant amount of time on social media. 

    As a parent, it is important to teach kids how to be smart about social media to minimize the risks that can be present online. Unfortunately, teens who use social media have reported problems like anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and bullying on social media platforms. 

    Safety And Privacy Concerns

    When teaching kids how to be smart about social media, it goes without saying that you need to notify them about privacy and safety issues. Sometimes without meaning to, young adults can share far more information than they should—sometimes to a total stranger. 

    Many kids, for example, post their photos along with their real names on their profiles and may share things like their school’s name, the town where they live, their schedule, or even their physical address. Their birthdates and interests can also expose them to serious criminal activity. 

    Revealing this kind of information can make your child vulnerable targets for online predators. Many children don't realize the nefarious side of social media apps and the internet, so it's your job as a parent to teach kids how to be smart about social media and to minimize these possibilities.

    Cyberbullying

    With so many teens and preteens using various forms of social media, it can become a place to carry out bullying. Many bullies use the internet’s “cloak of anonymity” to act aggressively toward others online and without consequence. This can increase the risk of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and even suicide for victims and families.

    Reputation Issues

    It's well worth teaching your child that what goes out over a phone or on the internet could stay there forever. It could also cause long-lasting damage to their character and reputation. Comments, videos, and photos made online typically can't be taken back after they are posted, and even if they're deleted, they could be captured or someone could take a screenshot. 

    It can be very difficult to erase one momentary lapse in judgment from the internet, and these problems can come up even years later, such as when a teenager applies for a job in the future.

    Inappropriate Content

    Children may access inappropriate content on social media apps, especially if children lie about their age in order to get access to these apps and websites when they are unsupervised by parents.

    Mental Health Effects

    It is well-documented that spending too much time on social media can have far-reaching adverse effects on your child’s mental health. Many children focus on comparing themselves with their peers and the highlight reel of everyone else they see on social media. 

    They can also easily feel excluded from events when they see people in their school spending time together when they have not been included. Children who lurk passively in the background of a chat or social media app can often be unhappier than those who send messages to friends and actively post. 

    Time Drain

    The time wasted on social media and related apps can really add up. This can pull your child away from exercising, spending time with friends, sleeping, reading, doing homework, or enjoying the outdoors.

  • Are There Any Benefits of Social Media?

    Your child may argue about the benefits of social media while wanting to be on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or Tiktok. They may also want you to provide them with access to a phone so that they can stay connected with friends and trends. 

    When teaching kids to be smart about social media, you can set boundaries and guidelines so that your family is using social media in a healthy way. 

    Social media's benefits include access to educational material, staying connected with family and friends, getting involved with nonprofits, charities, or campaigns, sharing ideas, listening to music, participating in art and other creative endeavors, interacting with other people in a community of similar interests, and communicating with fellow students and educators. 

  • How Should I Be Teaching My Kids to Be Smart About Social Media?

    When allowing your children access to social media, it's important to have some initial conversations. Tell your kids that it is important to think twice before sharing any kind of information, to leverage the privacy settings available on every social media app, and to avoid connecting with strangers. 

    You may even develop a social media contract with any teenagers using social media that gives you the right to take action should they violate any of the existing rules you have established. This can help to keep your children safe, but can also make things easier for them in understanding what they are and are not allowed to do on social media. The minute that you begin to recognize that there are problems with your child's use of social media, you may need to intervene and restrict their usage or access. There are many different parenting privacy controls, restrictions, and apps that you can use to minimize the potential impact of social media issues.

    The more you can discuss social media with your children and help them to understand why you're using restrictions and controls, the easier it will be to implement these plans. 

    There's a good chance that many teens and preteens already know some of the challenges of social media, and some of them may be concerned about getting addicted or may have friends who have experienced social media harm already. Don't discount your child's awareness of these issues, and this could set you up for a much better conversation with them. 

  • What Is a Social Media Harm Lawsuit?

    Growing numbers of parents have expressed concerns about how much social media companies may know about the potentially devastating effects of their apps, especially for younger people. Attempted suicide, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, or other mental health conditions have skyrocketed in teens who have grown up with social media use. Some social media companies are even facing lawsuits arguing that social media use can contribute to teen suicide rates and that the applications and platform developers knew this but continued to market and even make these programs as addictive as possible. 

    People whose children developed anxiety, body dysmorphia, depression, eating disorders, or other conditions may be eligible to seek compensation on their child's behalf. It is very important to communicate with an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.

    If you're a parent concerned about your child's use of social media, you are not alone. Many parents all over the country are concerned about situations in which the use of social media can cause mental and even physical problems for their children. 

    If you believe that your child has already suffered the impacts of social media and the dangerous proliferation of this addictive app behavior, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your legal options.

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