09 Sep, 2022 PROTECTING Kids from the DANGERS of Social Media
Advice & Technology
By Katrina Cheshire
In a media-driven world, how can you protect your kids from the dangers of social media? All their friends have it, everyone talks about it, and of course they want to get it too. They want to fit in and stay updated with their friends’ lives, whether it’s dangerous or not.
The problem is, the risks of social media far outweigh any benefits. While there may be some legitimate reasons for a teen to get social media, there are a whole slew of pitfalls that come along with it, and they need to be prepared for what they’re getting themselves into.
What age should they get it?
DO NOT let your child under 16 get social media. If you need convincing, watch this story of a mom who went undercover as a 15-year-old girl and then as an 11-year-old girl, with a whole team of people behind her researching what would happen. She received an unbelievable amount of disturbing, disgusting messages within a matter of seconds. One man literally went to the point of meeting up with her.
Studies show that as soon as young girls’ social media accounts are created, there are men on the lookout for them. Don’t let your young kids get social media. If you can hold out until they’re 18, even better. But wait until they’re at least 16!
Reasons they might need social media
One legitimate reason a teen might need social media is to grow a business. In today’s marketing world, a huge amount of marketing and advertising is through social media, especially Instagram. If they have an entrepreneurial business that they want to grow, social media could be a great option for them, as long as they use it wisely.
Reasons they should NOT get social media
The amount of predators and creeps that are stalking children online is horrifying. This is the number one reason why you shouldn’t let a young teen get social media. It’s a whole world of problems waiting to happen for kids.
The ads and filth that they may be exposed to is another reason why your kids shouldn’t have social media. Although ads may be tailored to the content you regularly consume, your teens are still bound to come across something that they would be better off not seeing.
Another reason not to let your young teen get social media is bullying. The online bullying that is consuming our culture is causing many teens to take their lives. Numerous children and teens have been bullied online, either from friends or strangers, and ended up committing suicide as a result.
Lastly, addiction is a real thing, and devices are causing a huge addiction issue in our culture. The unknown excitement that comes with social media is similar to the addiction of gambling; when you post something, you don’t know if you’re going to get a good or bad reaction, much like as in gambling, you don’t know if your outcome will be good or bad.
Precautions to Take
If you let your 16-year-old get social media, counsel them to be very careful what personal information they post. Don’t post in real time (such as posting at an event while they’re still there), don’t put their location on their posts, and make sure their location is turned OFF in the apps settings on their phone! People can track their exact location through that if it’s turned on!
Also discuss how much personal family stuff they can post. If you have younger kids, are you okay with your teens posting their young siblings? Make sure your teens know what family stuff you are comfortable with them posting beforehand.
Another wise idea is to make them set a time limit on their social media apps. If you do this, then after a certain amount of time using the app, it will automatically log them out. We don’t realize how much time we waste on our phones; a timeline that logs them out will help keep your teens from wasting their lives away in a fake online world!
Parental Controls to Protect Your Kids
If you’re going to let your older teen get social media, make sure you have parental controls in place. This requires accountability and lets your teen know in advance that you will be seeing everything they are looking at on social media. If they violate or breach the agreement, they will have to remove social media from their phone. This keeps your kids accountable to you and prevents porn and even bullying!
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We hope that this article has encouraged you to set guidelines for your teens, and that your family will be able to have protection and peace from social media! Don’t let it divide you; work together to use it for good and make it a blessing!
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Katrina Cheshire is a home school and Bible college graduate and the author of Seller of Dreams. She is passionate about good stories and the power they can have in shaping a life.
With seven siblings her life is full of adventure and excitement! She loves to design and sew clothing. She enjoys writing endless stories and read even more of them. You can find her making music with her brothers and sisters or dancing for the glory of God.
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