Social media has stormed into our lives and changed the way we interact and participate in day-to-day activities. It has come into criticism for the negative aspects associated with its usage, but this doesn't discount from all the advantages that a person stands to derive from social media platforms. Social media has found ways to change the education system for a better effect. Our article will concentrate on how social media can help children learn and how, as parents, we can devise strategies to prevent our children from coming face to face with the pitfalls of technology.
Students can utilize social media for a variety of purposes that help further their education. Let’s discuss some of these below.
Say, your school-going child has a group project coming up which he/she needs to discuss with the other members assigned to their group. It may not always be possible to assemble at someone's house. Social media enables these children a platform to discuss their project ideas and collaborate. They can create an online group and exchange updates about the project on it. Information can be exchanged, and these kids get to participate in a community building exercise unbeknownst to them.
Parents sometimes do not understand how vast the reach of social media is and in how many ways it can be utilized. Sure, many kids use it simply as a form of entertainment. However, some kids use social media channels to keep up to date about internship opportunities, skill workshops, seminars, and panel discussions.
When parents prohibit their kids from social media, they let go of a precious teachable moment. Not only do they curb their child's freedom of expression, but they also fail to equip him/her with the necessary skills to protect their privacy when engaging online. Parents can teach their kids just how to use this power of mass communication responsibly and not use it to infringe on another's freedom to practice the fundamental rights guaranteed to them by law.
It’s only a matter of time before the education industry packs up its practices and journeys into the virtual world. The future is online and isolating your kids from social media will only do them more harm than good. You must allow them to learn the tips and tricks of social media so they are not at a disadvantage when they are forced to use social media to complete their assignments and class work. Social media helps an individual build critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which will help your child succeed academically as well as in life.
Now that we’ve already discussed how parents can encourage children to use social media to reap academic benefits, it’s time we talk about how they can protect their wards from the pitfalls of social media. Let’s learn about certain measures parents can take to this effect below.
Social media filters content by age. If you happen to be below 13, most social media sites won't let you sign up for their platform at all. When your child turns 13, you can allow them to get themselves their own account on their preferred social media website, but teach them always to specify their real age as and when required. Your kids may be able to access age-inappropriate content online if they get into the practice of fudging their age. Some of this content can be quite disturbing for young and impressionable minds and is best kept away from their reach until they've developed better decision-making ability.
Often websites display content that they don’t always filter and which can send the wrong message to its consumers. For eg: Hate content or discriminatory content towards a community. Teach your kid to hunt out where the Report button for the websites they visit are. If they come across content that they’re uncomfortable with, encourage them to report this content to the site administrators. Site admin take such reports very seriously and will promptly address this issue by removing the reported content or limiting accessibility. If the content is offensive, they will also issue an apology to the parties disrespected.
Your child may still be young and sharing things with you. But this doesn't mean that they shouldn't be practicing privacy online. Make them realize how certain information should be kept private and never shared with strangers on the Internet. It could be their password, their phone number, their address. Unless they've verified the credibility of the individual they are interacting with, they should never divulge any personal information, let alone sensitive information.
If your kids have been barred from using offensive slang words in real life, there is no reason they should be abusing people online using these. The Internet is increasingly becoming hostile and this is because most of us do not check our behavior online simply because the virtual world provides a veil of anonymity and protection. Teach your kids how to respect others opinions and make themselves heard without resorting to uncalled for behavior online.
It is quite impossible to ignore social media in today's time – be it for our kids or us. Our kids need to be taught how to use social media to their advantage but at the same time recognize the faults that can ensue from irresponsible social media usage. As parents, it is our responsibility to make them learn how they can use social media appropriately and to their benefit.
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Jenny Many offers numerous tips for parents including social media rules for kids and how they can use social media as a teaching tool for their kids.