May 21, 2018

Should You Ban Your Kids From Social Media?

The short answer is no, for the long answer, please continue reading.

Banning = Secret Accounts


Now hear me out. I am not saying you shouldn't limit their access or moderate them. You should do those things, but not allowing it at all is just asking for trouble in the long run.

Banning social media is a lot like abstinence-only education. They are not going to listen to you, so why not give them the resources needed to prevent unwanted outcomes? Talk to them about what is safe and not safe.

Get the apps yourself! Try them out, see what it does and learn how to use it. Read the terms and learn how to change the privacy settings. The more familiar you are with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and whatever new crazy app there is, the less scary it becomes.

I still don't agree with going the ban route even if you talk to them because they will just create secret accounts you have no knowledge of and if something they aren't sure about pops up, they aren't going to be able to go to you for help as they will fear being punished, which could potentially put them in danger.

Secret accounts may still happen if you let them have social media as kids want to hide things from their parents. Think back when you were a kid, I bet there was a lot you did that your parents don't' know about to this day! However, I like to believe that if something super uncomfortable popped up, like that suicide YouTube video that happened awhile back, a child would be more inclined to talk to their parent who is open to social media rather than one who is not, as they would be more afraid of the repercussions for not following the rules.

Child Grooming


If you are afraid of child grooming or predators, educate your child about these things and teach them to never give out personal information to people they don't know. I wouldn't go as far as to say they can't talk to strangers at all, some of the best friends I have made were over the internet! I was an introvert growing up and making friends was difficult, having that online community really helped me and without it, I probably would have been a depressed teen.

I'm going to share an embarrassing story now of what happened to me as a young teen, one that only a select few know. I actually did have an internet crush and found out we lived in the same state. I don't know if my parents were really open to social media as it just started popping up when I was a teen, but they weren't strict about it so I felt comfortable enough to talk to them about meeting my online friend at a park (with my parents present of course). They agreed, but it fell through as he made up some story that may or may not have been true.

My parents then explained to me the dangers of talking to strangers online and so I deleted him (or it could have been a woman, who knows?) and we never spoke again, and I never tried to meet anyone I met online again. I did still talk to people online because my friends didn't share all the same interests as me. I needed that social interaction, but I knew to only keep it online from that point on and to never share personal information.

If my parents had just decided to ban social media, I may have tried to sneak off to meet him alone, which is what happens in a lot of those child abductions and pedophile cases. Don't let that happen to your child. Talk to them about the dangers, don't just ban social media and think that will be the solution.

I would have loved for someone to have told me the dangers before I started chatting with people online, but unfortunately, I was part of the guinea pig generation and didn't get the talk until after the fact. At least my experience will help me when it comes to raising my daughter in this internet age.

Cyberbullying


If you are worried about cyberbullying, then you need to focus on bullying in the real world. Online bullying is just schoolyard bullying taken to the internet. These are people your child already knows! It is very rare and uncommon for someone to just randomly bully a stranger online, and if so, it is easier to block a random person than someone you see every day in school. Just because your child isn't on social media, doesn't mean they won't get bullied (source). I was actually bullied in school, but never online. By the time I was on social media, I was a teen and already avoiding those people.

Instead of trying to shield your child, teach them how to handle a bully and better yet, teach them how not to be a bully. Bullies are often a result of a bad home life. Their actions are actually more of a cry for help. If you want to raise kind kids, then you need to show them how to be a kind person. I believe that children are a reflection of their parents, so be the best role model you can be.

You can read more about bullying my previous post here.

Education is Key


Banning social media or even more extreme, the internet, will also severely limit your kid in our technology-driven world. They won't know how to navigate or use the online world like their peers, which may put them at a disadvantage depending on what career path they take. Many jobs now also only have applications available online as it saves, money, time and paper.

I also feel a lot of people, especially parents, just have this huge fear of the internet and social media. As a blogger, I am on these daily. I use almost all the sites so I know all the rules, which ones have more privacy, which ones are safer, and I have seen what is on there, which for the most part, is not all that bad. Maybe that is why I am more comfortable with the idea of my daughter being on social media in the future?

I think more parents would feel more comfortable with social media as well if they used it, so I highly encourage you, if you aren't already, to get on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever apps kids are using today and learn how to use them. The more informed you are, the better you will feel about your child being on them and be able to educate them on how to use them safely and properly.

I will agree that not all apps are safe, Snapchat crosses the line with its "disappearing" pictures, but I think your best bet is to just educate your child that those pictures don't actually just "disappear." However, the moment you tell them not to use it is the moment they will start finding a way to get on it, so you just kind of have to hope you can teach your child the dangers and have faith that they are intelligent enough to use it in a safe way.

Final Thoughts


I do believe in age limits, but I think you are pushing it once your child becomes a teenager. I also think if you are really adamant about your child not using social media, then you shouldn't be on it either as it comes across as hypocritical. If it is as bad as you make it out to be, why are you on it? It could also be seen as you don't trust your child, which further distances them from you.

In the end, it is your decision, but as someone who grew up just when social media started popping up, I somehow managed to learn how to play it safe. Sure I made a mistake, we all do, but luckily I had parents I could turn to.

Kids today don't have to be the guinea pigs as most will have parents who have used social media, so they will have plenty of guidance, which will help them make safer and better choices online.


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Should You Bad Your Kids From Social Media?
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14 comments:

  1. As a parent of a 14 and 11 year old I totally agree with you about this You have to teach kids to cope with the the reality they live in. It is scary but you have to teach them the skills to manage.

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  2. I definitely feel like social media does more harm for children then good. It's crucial that parents are involved and monitor the platforms on which their children are apart of.

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  3. On the other hand, what about the government? What if it is centrally banned for young children to access social media? Just like the GDPR system where it makes thing difficult for corporation to abuse the privacy of people? In such instance, perhaps it is a solution. However, if there is no central or global banning, i agree with you that education is the way to go.

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    1. There is already an age limit on social media. You have to be 13+ to sign up for Facebook, Instagram, etc. Hence why they ask for your age, but guess what, kids lie. There is no way for them to verify your age unless you go to the extreme of requesting social security numbers, which is way too private and no one wants to give that out!

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  4. I've just begun thinking about this. We ran into another 5-year-old with a cellphone at the playground! Luckily, my daughter is so innocent it didn't compute, and she just said, "Cellphones are for big kids." I agree that age limits are the way to go, and I think you're right about talking about the dangers.

    Isabella
    www.IsabellaDavid.com
    IG @IsabellaDavidVintage

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  5. My daughters are very open with me about their SM, but my teenage son is SUPER secretive, which drives me bonkers. I have to monitor him when I can, but he has so many secret accounts, it is hard to keep up.

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  6. Great topic and I agree. I was a teenager when facebook was becoming more common. My parents wouldn't let me have an account which lead to me creating a secret account. I would much rather monitor and educate my child how to safe on social media.

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  7. I think you're right. It's important for youth to learn how to use technology appropriately and safely, and as long as the conversation is ongoing, they'll do that with minimal negative outcomes. I also think it helps maintain their trust in you as their parent.

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  8. I totally agree with you. I feel like making something as prominent as social media totally off limit for your kids is only going to make them want it more, to the point where they may try to secretly create accounts. I think that when I'm a parent, I will probably allow my kids to be on social media, but I will monitor their activity and follow them to make sure they are using the platforms appropriately.

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  9. I don't think you should ban social media from your kids but just monitor it and give them a time limit with how long they can be on it.

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  10. Such a great read. I haven’t reached this point with my kids but I’m already thinking about how we will deal with it.

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  11. I only have a toddler and I can't imagine what social media will be like when she is old enough to be on it. It's definitely already been a topic of conversation for us. Great info!

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  12. I think it depends on the child's age. At some point, they will get on social media secretly, as you say. Thanks for posting!

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  13. Another issue is that social media is potentially a very powerful and potentially destructive tool. Because there are no social costs to be paid up front, users can "blast" other users with any insults they can think of. I imagine "mean girls" are the culprits here.

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