One of my biggest worries as a mother is social media! From the moment our children are born we want to keep them safe! We do that by educating them, teaching them right from wrong and also teaching them to assess potential risks and how to deal with those risks but I'm lost as how to do that with social media.....maybe because it's new to me, something I didn't have to deal with growing up or maybe it's a genuine concern shared by others...
I'm definitely not a 'helicopter parent' as its called, I believe to a certain extent that at an appropriate age children should learn from their actions, discover for themselves ... I will tell them and show them a risk/danger but if the outcome isn't too dangerous then I let them learn for themselves...."don't stand up in the buggy you might fall and hurt your head" I tell Heath in a busy post office...does he listen no....so he carries on doing it and he falls bumps his head....hopefully lesson learnt...or at least a little closer to the lesson being learnt.
BUT with social media there are so many reasons why I am concerned for my children (yes it's part of growing up but it doesn't make me feel any more comfortable!)
I never thought I would be in this position but to be honest ...I'm out of touch...I've lost it, I'm not down with the kids! For example, it has only recently come to my attention that a 'snapchat' will disappear once the recipient has read it.....well anything could be sent to my child and it's then gone and if it's inappropriate...bullying, indecency etc then there is no accountability!
At least when I was young I was told 'don't talk to strangers' and if anyone seemed strange I stayed away but with social media my child could be talking to anyone - someone posing as another child or a friend and that seems totally out of my control and it freaks me out! I want my children to be friendly, to be open to others but where do you draw the line if the potential threat isn't obvious.....!
On top of the safety issue related to this growing social media trend, there is the image and confidence side of it. Social media in my opinion isn't REAL LIFE! To a large extent, it's fake and it's false..... a possible misrepresentation of someones life and a very shallow and materialistic representation at times with no secrecy. Apps are used to alter image, teenagers are broadcasting their sexual conquests, body image is plastered everywhere...posts intended to bully others can be broadcast and spread at a rapid rate....it seems that there is no escape for young children....and I believe this pressure is partly linked to the increase in childhood mental illness (depression, anxiety etc).
I recently saw a post on facebook asking at what age parents deemed it appropriate to grant social media access to their children. The general consensus was 16 but a few said much younger....what do you think? Am I right to be concerned?
Thankfully my husband and I are no where near that stage with my two boys but when they are old enough, I suppose all you can do is educate them and make them aware of the potential dangers but nonetheless it still scares the life out of me!!
What tips do you have?
For those looking for advice, take a look at this website: parent zone