Social media has made it much harder for parents to control what their children have access to online.
Long gone are the days of parental controls that block children from accessing certain websites that contain explicit or violent material. This is because anyone can post pretty much whatever they want (within the given platforms rules and regulations). Young boys no longer have to find sneaky ways to obtain a pornographic magazine, they can simply follow a pornstar on Instagram, and teenage girls no longer need to resort to physical versions of “Burn Books” in the privacy of their own home when they can bash each other publicly online using fake profiles. It’s a worry that many parents have; How do you control (or at least limit) what your children see on the internet and when they see it? Or worse, how do you control what they post and how other people will use it?
A good place to start would be to inform your children that the internet is a PUBLIC domain, even if their profile is on “private”. Let them know that they shouldn’t post anything online that they wouldn’t say or do in public. Teaching them as children to use the internet responsibly and not share anything that could hinder them in the future will make them much more careful about what they say or share online.
Luckily children and teens are actually catching onto this idea on their own. According to a recent Pew report, 88 percent of teen social-media users think that people share too much information about themselves online, 42 percent of them have had someone post something about them that they can’t change or control, and 21 percent of them report feeling worse about their own life because of what they see from other friends on social media, such as events that they weren’t invited to or a lavish family vacation a friend went on.
Now, having this information the next step would be to teach children that social media is not reality.
The dark side of social media is the perception of perfection. Many of us are guilty of it ourselves. Most people don’t post about their toddlers when they throw a tantrum, or when they’re having a bad hair day. Yet instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are filled with fabulous looking foods, luxurious vacations, and women with perfect hair. But the truth of the matter is, that’s only a portion of their story, no matter how perfect someone’s life seems online, it’s not all great all the time.
At the end of the day it is important to have an open dialogue with kids and teens about the dangers of the internet, to teach them that what they say online can be damaging to themselves (and potentially others if they are making negative comments about a fellow classmate).
If you, your child, or your client is a victim of cyberbullying don’t hesitate to call Viriant.