WRITTEN BY MELISSA SMITH
The use of social media among children is a topic of growing concern for parents, educators, and policymakers.
While social media platforms offer numerous benefits, including opportunities for socialisation and self-expression, there are also many potential risks associated with unsupervised usage.
According to recent studies, the impact of unsupervised social media usage on children can be significant.
Children who spend excessive time on social media are more likely to experience negative outcomes such as depression and anxiety and are more likely to be targeted by bullies. The anonymity of online communication can make it difficult to identify cyberbullying.
Another concern is the potential for children to be exposed to inappropriate content online.
While social media platforms have policies in place to prevent the sharing of inappropriate content, it is still possible for children to come across harmful or disturbing material.
Parents and educators should monitor children’s social media usage and teach them safe online practices.
Talk to your children
Start by having a conversation with your children about their social media usage.
Encourage open communication and let them know you are there to support and protect them.
Set ground rules
Establish clear rules and expectations for social media usage in your household. This may include limits on screen time, restricting access to certain platforms, and prohibiting the sharing of personal information online.
Use parental controls
Many social media platforms offer parental controls that allow you to monitor your child’s activity, limit screen time, and filter inappropriate content. Take advantage of these tools to keep your child safe online.
Keep an eye on your child’s phone, tablet, or computer to see what they are doing online.
Check their browsing history, social media apps and messages regularly to ensure they are not engaging in any harmful behaviour.
Be aware of privacy settings
Make sure your child’s social media profiles are set to private and that they are only connecting with people they know in real life.
Talk to your children about the risks of accepting friend requests from strangers and encourage them to report any suspicious activity.
Stay involved in your child’s online life by following their social media accounts and interacting with them online. This will help you monitor their activity and show you are interested in their lives and want to be a part of it.