The social media landscape is in constant evolution. New networks come and go each year, and patterns come and go. Each generation of consumers offers new ways to interact with these social platforms.
As per the report, more than half of the world's population uses social media now. There are 4.88 billion internet users worldwide, equating to almost 62% of the world's population. More than two-thirds of the global population has access to mobile devices representing 5.29 billion unique users. The average day-to-day use of social media is 2 hours 27 minutes. Nearly 6 out of every 10 people on the planet have a social network account. Also, focusing on young users, almost 44% of 8-11-year-olds use social media apps/sites, swiftly increasing to 87% of 12-15-year-olds; which is a graving concern for parents, as with social media usage, challenges come along.
So as parents, how do you address these social media challenges?
In this article, briefly highlighting the challenges, we have enlisted some popular tips and solutions for parents to follow.
Make sure your child is prepared
You need to determine whether your child is ready to be part of the social media world in the first place. Maybe they're old enough to join a social media platform, but perhaps they're not prepared.
As a parent, you may already know how mature they are. If not, interact with other people, such as their coaches and friends. If still uncertain, expose them to social media for a short period, test them, determine their expectations and communicate about their uses. Also, figure out the consequences of not tracking them. When satisfied with your observation, then allow them to use social networking sites only.
Establish a time limitation
Several studies have shown that the average time spent on social networks each day is associated with negative emotions. A survey by Kiera E. Riehms and colleagues found that teenagers who use social media for more than three hours a day are at a higher risk for mental health problems.
There are many ways to track, monitor, and block social media time. Multiple built-in parameters and applications are also available. For example, in the recent past, Instagram added the "Your Activity" setting, which shows the average time you spent on Instagram; also a "one-hour" duration Instagram live. Another way to begin setting limits on social media is to implement some simple rules that can be applied to your daily life, such as enforcing the customary rule of not to scroll through social media within an hour after waking up and putting your smartphone away at least an hour prior bedtime.
Model the right behaviour
As an adult, ultimately, you only have control over yourself. So, be careful of your behaviours, whether that's with your screen time, diet or health. Your children learn from you; first, make sure you conduct yourself well. It is a big part of parenting.
Discuss social media with your kids and teens more often. Ask about the use of social media like the updates they do, they track some celebrities or influencers, are they looking for guidance or help, and how do they feel about it? It may seem strange or exhausting at times, but as parents, it is essential to be aware of the children's activities and help and advice.
Know their network
Advise your child never to approve requests from friends or add people they do not know in reality. Make sure they never meet someone in person they just met online.
Stay aware of imposters
Catfishing is a common form of online communication. The user creates a false profile and impersonates someone else—often like another child—to communicate with their child. Educate yourself about catfishing and cyberstalking in the first place, then teach your kids the red flags to look out for. A limited number of messages that seem staged, asking for money for help, or intimate photos are just some of the clues to identify the authenticity of a profile.
Avoid luring offers
"Free" giveaways and contests or online quizzes are usually spotted over the internet and look tempting too. But these offerings can also be phishing scams that will try to trick your children into giving away personal information or allow hackers to try to inject malware onto their computers. Thus, educate your kids not to get lured by these and what causes such phishing scams lead. If they want to enter a contest, review it first and make sure it's legitimate.
Abstain from sharing location updates
Most adults and children follow a popular practice of personalization of social media status updates with their live location details recorded by their mobile GPS. Children can have fun tagging messages or pictures with location details, but parents may not want their child's precise location updated in the public domain.
For protection, disable location services on your child's device. This can be done only for specific applications while allowing maps and other precious tools to access location data. You can also warn your kids to refrain from updating location details.
Check apps within sites
Social networking sites are full of ads or suggestions for third-party apps or games that your kid may want to use; such apps, however, can share or post information by default without you knowing about it. The authentic and good apps will clarify that they will never post on your behalf. But for less well-known apps, check their authenticity and determine if you want your child to authorize apps to access social media accounts.
Make a contract
We already know social media leads to addiction. Therefore, it is recommended to enter into a 'social media agreement' with your children, a contract they can sign. That may sound different, but discipline and security have to be maintained. As a result, they approve of protecting their privacy, taking into account their reputation and not sharing their personal information. They also agree not to use technology to harm someone else with bullying or gossip.
Beyond that, as a parent, you too must accept to respect the privacy of teenagers while making an effort to be part of the world of social media. This means that you may "friend" and watch them. Also, keep your kids grounded in the real world by limiting media use. Install digital devices in public areas of the home and set rules around the use of technology (such as not having devices at the dinner table).
Do you have any tips? Do let us know in the comments.