According to the Mayo Clinic, by the time children are 13 years old, 97% of them have an online social media presence in some form, and nearly half of the teens from a 2018 Pew Research Center survey reported being online “nearly constantly.” In the 21st century, social media has become akin to the drive-in theater of the 60s. It’s where social interactions, connections, relationships, and entertainment activities occur, with many benefits. Parents need to implement developmentally appropriate, safe, and win-win strategies for their children regarding the above.
There are certainly benefits of social media. As adults, parents use social media to communicate via Facebook for personal use, LinkedIn for business connections, and even YouTube for home improvement! In general, social media enables you to connect with people with similar interests, enhance self-expression safely, interact with diverse individuals, and be exposed to new ideas or cultures. There are many learning opportunities in which students can take advantage. Young people get most news and stay up to date with current events via social media. Older generations did not have accessible media to educate themselves on the world around them.
However, for every aspect that social media can shine a light on new experiences or individuals, it has a dark side that parents should not ignore.. While YouTube may be valid for education, it can also be where young children are exposed to inappropriate content. Yes, Facebook Messenger may be an excellent place for children to interact supervised, but adults need to know who their children are with online. There are hours of distracting videos for every TikTok video teaching phonics skills through a catchy tune that can keep children from healthier off-screen activities.