It is still heavily discussed what risks and advantages there are when a kid uses social networks. Having a clear understanding means having appropriate information about pro and contra of this modern addiction.
First of all, there is a significant amount of virtual social networks that connect people all over the world in one community. At the same time, most of the world-famous social media are not suitable for children due to a huge amount of inappropriate content and age restrictions. Nevertheless, there are social networks designed for kids. The most popular ones among the younger generation are:
- A number of users is over 1.4 billion. It gets its popularity through the convenient interface and smart set of functions. The only restriction is that a child has to be over 13 to join. One can create his profile, add photos, videos, personal information, music, films. One can play various games, use many applications and join groups, chat with friends in a real time or start his own blog.
- If you daughter is fond of fashion, she will be crazy about Stardoll.com – a website is targeted mainly at female users, who can design their own MeDoll, develop their originality and communicate with others.
- com is the best choice for a parent of a little traveler. A future wanderer can customize his own character, join the community of 76 million users, make virtual excursions all over the globe and play games, which will make each journey more enjoyable.
- If your kid is from 6 to 14 years old, his or her choice may be ClubPenguin.com. It is possible to create an individual avatar and find new friends. Children can play bright games and participate in various activities together.
However, when speaking about kids’ social network activity, we cannot stay apart from the dangerous factors it can bring to their life.
Cyberbullying and cyberstalking are the main threats of virtual life. Children start to share their private information, photos, and videos; they can be affected by those who may harm or bully them.
Of course, one of the main warning perils is the age-inappropriate Internet content. Even if your computer is equipped with the parental control tools, there still is a possibility to stumble upon or share explicit materials on any social network.
Privacy is not much respected in such social networks too. Explain to your kid that adding too much personal information can lead to dangerous effects. Nowadays, the social networks suffer much from identity thefts and online grooming. Sadly, some vicious adults often use information from the children’s accounts for their purposes. There are a lot of criminals – pedophiles or burglars – who are very dangerous. Try to convince your children not to communicate and not to entrust their personal information to strangers.
Knowing the online dangers can help your kid stay secure when using social media and derive benefits from it. Help your child try different networks on his or her own. Once you get to know more about the security and functions, you can create an account in one or several of such networks for your kid as well as for yourself. Thus, your little one will see that you are also interested in the same things, and you will have mutual topics to discuss. At the same time, establish rules of how the kid uses social networks and limit the time that everyone in the family can spend online.
To cut a long story short, letting or prohibiting your child to use social media is your decision and responsibility as a parent. But if you do make social networks a part of your kid’s life, make sure that he or she is aware of all apparent and hidden online dangers, and acts accordingly to have an enjoyable time on the Internet.