When we see our children persistently on their phones and looking at ipads, constantly chatting to friends on social media, we can worry. Are they using social media responsibly? Are they addicted to it?!
There are many downsides of using social media – particularly bullying and meanness, but there are also some great benefits of children using it
HOW CHILDREN CAN BENEFIT FROM USING SOCIAL MEDIA
1. Social media can strengthen friendships.
Children can use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to connect with new and old friends. Some of their chat will be mindless banter – something we all do – and some of it will be commenting on others posts and pictures or making social arrangements. It is especially great when children want to stay in touch with old friends when moving areas or schools.
2. Social media helps children stay in touch with members of the family that they are unable to see regularly.
So many families are fragmented so this is when social media really comes into its own. Using Facebook or Skype children can send videos, talk live to grandparents or message each other.
3. Social media teaches children about technology and different ways to use it.
Many of us did not grow up with the internet and are therefore playing catch up now. Children nowadays are very lucky to connect with others and access information at their fingertips quickly. It is very easy for children to keep up to date with emerging news and trends.
4. Social media is great for children to connect with others who share similar interests to them. For example they can search on Twitter or in Facebook groups for others who like a certain hobby. It gives them other people to talk to and engage with who they may not know from school as well as share ideas and opinions.
5. Social media provides an education to children.
It exposes them to so many different view points and personalities. This can help them shape their own views and ideas and can get them thinking about who they are and what they stand for. Good for self-reflection!
Whilst it’s important to keep an eye on your child’s social media use (we are all aware of the possible dangers), don’t forget that it also has many benefits.