It’s common to hear about the dangers of social media to kids and it’s a total no-go area in some homes as it is viewed as ‘dangerous’ or harmful. But isn’t that rather a one-sided perspective? Could there possibly be benefits of Social Media to Kids?
Social media has its bane but it also has its good side and that is what we aim to focus on in this post. Here are a few things your kids could learn from social media.
1. Sense of belonging
Studies show that kids who feel more accepted tend to be happier and have fewer behavioral problems than those who don’t feel any sense of belonging whatsoever. Exposing them to social media helps them feel a sense of belonging as they too are able to partake in what their friends and peers partake in.
2. Improve communication
Children who are exposed to social media earlier will learn how to navigate through conversations better. Social media introduces them to more people with diverse personalities. Chatting and connecting with this crowd exercises their wits and creativity hence turning most into better communicators.
3. Keeps them informed
Social media is easily one of the best and fastest avenues to gain information. With the large volume of resources that dish out educative information, your kids are bound to have quality information at their disposal. However, care and parental guidance should be employed where necessary to avoid exposing the kids to the wrong platforms.
Due to the subtle or not so subtle classification of social media users into ‘niches’, your kids will identify with a community they most naturally acclimatize to. For instance, Emeka is a kid who has always loved books and he only knows one or two other kids in his class who loves books as well. He finds out about social media, websites, and social media pages that are about books. He begins to make friends on Facebook and his friend’s suggestions are mostly book lovers just like him. He soon discovers there’s a community of people who love books, some even more than him.
Emeka becomes even more aware and motivated about his interest in books because now he has more people to share his ideas with.
This probably sounds out of place for a child. But what’s better than people learning how to be more independent and self-sufficient from an early age.
Social media comes with a freedom of expression most kids are not so used to. It helps them understand that they can express themselves freely and are responsible for the consequences of whatever they do or don’t do.
6. For fun
Social media is a great place to have fun and keep the kids entertained. From making new friends to participating in educating games and challenges, it is a great place to unwind, relax, and pass time.
7. It can boost their creativity
Your kind can get creative and more innovative through the use of social media especially in aspects like editing their own bios, sharing photos, videos, etc.
As mentioned earlier, the use of social media has its own risk as well. You as the parent, teacher or guardian are therefore saddled with the responsibility of helping them use it responsibly and safely. There are several measures that could be put in place to ensure that.
- Go through the do’s and don’ts with them
You and your child should be able to come to an agreement on what to and what not to do on social media. Educate them on what is considered appropriate and what is not, how to take caution with strangers, and how to navigate in privacy and minimalism.
- Make use of special platforms and designated settings for kids.
For example, YouTube and messenger have versions for kids with different safety settings. Some phone settings can also be modified to include parental guidance, screen time monitoring, etc. this is to ensure adherence to safety guidelines for the kids and to minimize or eliminate their exposures to the ugly side of social media.
It is not a bad idea to let your kids use social media. You should also remember to educate them thoroughly and be there for them to guide them.