Social media tends to have a bit of a bad reputation nowadays, and a lot of people think it can be quite damaging for our young people. While this is somewhat true, social media also has plenty of positives.
Discover People Who Are Similar
For a lot of people, their pre-teens are a crucial time where they figure out a bit more about who they are. Across a lot of countries, there is little representation of different kinds of people in the mainstream media. When used correctly, social media can provide a safe space where young people can find role models who are similar to them. The social media platform Instagram has accounts that focus on topics such as body-positivity, LGBT+ content, and racial awareness. With all of these topics and more having attention online, there is bound to be someone out there who is like your child on social media, and someone that they can relate to.
There is an abundance of social media accounts whose main goal is to educate and inspire. With accounts like The Science Museum, National Geographic, and TedTalks, the learning opportunities don’t end when it’s time to leave school. Encourage your child to follow some accounts with topics that interest them, and each time they use social media they will learn a new and interesting fact!
Share Emotions / Express Themselves
Sometimes, it can be really difficult for our children to share their emotions with us. Studies have shown that it’s much harder to feel embarrassment over social media than it is in person – so it gives our young people a chance to express themselves without the fear of being judged too harshly.
Increase Anxiety and Depression Levels
Studies have shown that spending too much time on social media can increase young people’s chance of being anxious or depressed. The people you follow can have a big impact on the way you feel about the world, and about yourself. Always encourage your children to follow positive accounts, that spread a positive message – this way their timeline will be filled with joy. Here is one of our favourite positivity accounts to get you started!
A large concern for a lot of parents is the risk of cyberbullying – and rightly so. Around 37% of people ages between 12 and 17 have been bullied online. Read our blog about cyberbullying for more information on this.
Social media can be a huge distraction to our younger generations, as can the devices they use to browse social media. Research has shown that blue light from screens suppresses melatonin (a hormone which affects circadian rhythms). Short amounts of sleep can put people at risk of depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The advice is to avoid looking at bright screens 2 to 3 hours before bed – or invest in some blue light blocking glasses.
Allowing your child to be on social media is a scary decision, there are a lot of things to consider. It’s important that you ensure that their privacy settings are secure and that you limit the amount of time they spend online. It’s also important that you take an interest in what and who they follow, and their reasoning behind this. You can always sit with them while they use social media, so you have complete clarity over what they’re seeing.
If you’re worried about your child, it can be really useful to speak with your child’s teachers regularly. With WisePay, you can have regular contact between parents and teachers.
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