We wrote about Social Media Your Kids Use in March this year, and recent events have made me want to reignite this conversation. A few experiences that made me stop and think:
- Girls (and guys) can access forums and “support” groups to help them stick to an “Anorexic Lifestyle”. There are some pretty sick tips, which are shared as “diet plans” and support groups where arguments supporting the right to control how you look and what you put into your body becomes quite convincing.
- Yellow is a “Tinder for Teenagers” dating app that links into SnapChat and Instagram. It took me five minutes to create a fake SnapChat and Yellow account. The most difficult part was finding a profile pic as a selfie of my 40+ self would not get me very far. I’ll let you know if I get any admirers. The risks for your children speak for themselves!
- And before you say, “OH my child would NEVER do anything like that because we’ve had the “talk” with them; realize that most teenagers hide their online activities from their parents. Most parents are not aware of what their child is doing online. I have recently been with parents who are totally floored when presented with the content posted by their children.
I am a huge proponent of communication technology and don’t support the view that kids should not have access to it. Cellphones and social media are deeply woven into our social fabric. Teens use social media to post their feelings, detail their likes and dislikes, and basically help them feel connected to their peers and the world around them. I think that is a good thing.
The solution is not “take away their cellphones”. The solution is to help your kids make sense of technology, it’s potential benefits and harm, in other words, to parent.