Social Media May Not Be So Bad For Your Kids After All

April 22, 2016

Parents have many reasons for limiting their kids’ screen time. Whether it’s to get them to look up from their phones when they cross the street or to drill in the risks of sharing too much information online, parents are often justified in being wary of the influence social media has. We’ve all heard the horror stories: the student who publicly posts a hateful rant about his teacher that gets him expelled or the kid who uploads an Instagram video of her smoking a joint that shows up in a public search. The attention these instances have received often overshadow the positive aspects of social media.

In a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit child advocacy group, results show that 1 in 5 teens said that social media actually improves self-confidence. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by some parents out there. Eileen Masio, mom of 2 children from NY, spoke with CNN about how she was pleased to see the positive comments she saw from monitoring her 17-year-old daughter’s Instagram. Unlike what media outlets normally report, most of the comments were encouraging and supportive: “You’re beautiful!”, “OMG! You’re gorgeous!” In contrast, media outlets often cover stories about how social media contributes to the increase of cyberbullying that it has erased the positive impact it also have on teenagers who are still finding themselves.

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In the survey that asked 1000+ 13-17 year olds, 28% felt social networking made them feel more outgoing compared to the 5% who felt less so. For students who feel isolated in school, social networks is a place where they can cry for help. More importantly, it’s a platform where they can find their kindred spirits, and gain the courage to follow their dreams. Much like Justin Bieber’s success from posting videos on Youtube, social networks are a place for many teens to share their thoughts and talents and to receive recognition from their peers.

Part of the uncertainty and criticism directed at social media stems from how little parents know about or understand them. But the truth is, they take some time to catch on and get adopted by users. Facebook took less than a year to reach a million users. Before anyone realized, all teenagers and college students had an account. Rebecca Levey, cofounder of a children’s video sharing platform, KidzVuz, agrees. She said, “ I think part of the problem is parents…really don’t know the rules themselves.”

But times have changed! Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey that showed out of the 91% of parents online, 75% are using social media. Now that parents are on social media, Levey suggests all there’s left to do is talk to your children about it. As long as they know the risks of sharing too much or sharing stuff that’s too personal, social media can be a great way to build confidence and connect with others.

For all parents out there, what are your thoughts on your children’s social media usage? 

Sources: CNN, SFGate

About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

 




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