Social media, in its current form, means a lot more than just a small number of adults spending time connecting with others and researching various topics. There are millions of children that are involved with social media in all sorts of ways.
Children’s interactions with social media
There are reasons why the thought of children getting involved with social media may be objectionable (and are certainly not preferable). A great deal of the objections, in all likelihood, come from the parents of those children. Many parents grow concerned if their children start to interact on social media channels because of the potentially dangerous nature of the Internet (at least certain aspects of it).
One of the best safety measures is something that parents can make happen. That is education. Adults in a position of authority must educate children, without frightening them, so that they understand what to do and what not to do in order to stay safe. The Internet definitely holds some potentially powerful educational possibilities for children if used appropriately. Part of the education is showing children where they should and should not go online. They also need to understand that the virtual world can quickly become the real world if they venture into places online where they have no control and where their parents and teachers don’t have control either.
The positives of children using social media
There are many positive attributes that can be leveraged when it comes to children. One of those is the idea that children can become technically savvy from an early age and that will help them in their future lives and careers. That is extremely important for them.
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All of that will definitely affect their future in an extremely profound manner. As young adults, they will be able to use social media to build relationships who share common interests and who have networking connections that will benefit both of them. Those relationships will help them to realize their long-term goals successfully. Of course, another thing to remember is that if a child is very young, he or she may be restricted from using certain social media channels. The adults need to pay attention to that on behalf of the children. Of course, those restrictions are in place for good reasons.
Another thing that is important to remember is that when you are choosing the appropriate social media channels, you should do so with the idea in mind that you (or the teachers) will not need to monitor every word that the child types. Children need some degree of privacy and the adults need to respect that as long as they children are not allowed to have freedom that causes them harm in any way. Children do not like the idea that their parents and teachers are watching their every move. An appropriate analogy would be if the child receives something in the mail (with his or her name on it). The parent should not open that piece of mail. Aside from being illegal, it is also important to make the child feel that since that envelope is addressed to him or her, he or she has the right to open it.
What is being built
There are many positive attributes that are being build by allowing children to get involved with social media and making them feel that they have entered a world that will allow them to grow, learn, and benefit. There is no doubt that the Internet has made all sorts of opportunities available that would never have been available before. Referring back to the networking opportunities and relationship building that occurs because of social media, there is absolutely nothing that can replace that. If children can learn from a young age how to be comfortable with other people and with themselves in a professional situation, they will be one step ahead of the game.
Social media and children are a natural combination, although that doesn’t mean that caution does not need to be exercised. As parents and educators, it is important to make sure that children use social media in the most productive, valuable and safe manner possible. It is all in the education. If you do that up front, you will hopefully be able to sit back and watch the children flourish. Social media has many benefits (for adults and children). It allows people to stay connected, form and sustain relationships, share interesting and valuable pieces of information, and develop a personal brand. There are many different social media channels that have been created with children in mind. It is important to find the ones that are the most appropriate and the most beneficial.