Category: Social Media Safety

3 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Social Life Without Social Media

3 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Social Life Without Social Media

Social media has become the main way adults and children alike socialize in today’s world. While it can be a tool to connect with others, social media can also hinder our social lives, especially for our kids. Children need in-person interaction to develop healthy social skills and engage in physical activity.

Regular social media interactions also leave your child more susceptible to cyberbullying or encountering inappropriate websites, which could damage their emotional health and development.

Social media can provide some good. It helps your child stay updated with technology and enables them to participate in online games and discussions with kids like them worldwide. This can help them learn and grow without isolating themselves from other people. However, this is best supervised and limited or your child could experience the unsavory side effects of those activities.

Balancing Social Media and Online Safety

You want your child to be safe, and their online safety is a part of making that happen. One of the best ways to ensure this is to make sure they know the best ways to interact online. Teach them never to give out their personal information or use a credit card without your permission. They should also never use their full name in chat threads or lie about their age when trying to enter a website, regardless of whether their friends use it.

One of the best ways to keep your kids safe online is by experiencing the websites they go on yourself. The more you know about a platform your child visits, the more secure you will feel about their interaction with it.

No matter how kids use social media, a lack of activities outside the web can harm their physical, mental and emotional health. Living their life solely online can lead to social awkwardness and isolation as they grow into adults. It can also cause communication breakdowns since they don’t learn how to respond to body language and other physical cues.

Here are three ways to develop your child’s social life without screens.

1. Get Them Involved in Extracurricular Activities

As your child grows, they will develop interests and personality traits suited for various activities. Encourage them to get involved in a club or sport they’re interested in.

They can get exercise by playing basketball, swimming or hiking, dig into their academic interests by joining a math team or history club. Or they may experience their media hobbies in new ways by playing cards and board games regularly with friends.

Many activities take place on weeknights, giving them something positive to do after school away from the computer.

Interacting with others lets them practice the social skills they will need in adult life. These include having in-person conversations, resolving physical and emotional conflicts, moving their body, and getting fresh air. Other abilities include learning about keeping on schedule and making commitments, which can be much more flexible online than in the real world.

Moreover, before and after school care can help build your child’s social skills by participating in group activities. These activities provide opportunities to build stronger friendships.  When children feel confident to make new friends, they develop more positive interactions, which can lead to a healthy adult social life, as you can learn more here.

2. Cater to Their Mental Health

Your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, so it’s necessary to nurture it the same.

Children who struggle mentally are less able to engage in interpersonal situations, leaving them feeling isolated and unfit for their activities. Poor mental health also affects their mood, making them appear annoyed or hostile to other kids. These social struggles can be one major reason why kids rely on online social spaces, rather than in-person.

Teach your children the importance of mental health and how they should talk about any thoughts or feelings that bother them. Assure them that getting specialized care is the same as treating a physical illness and nothing to feel embarrassed about.

The more age-appropriate knowledge they have about their mental health, the less likely they will try to bottle up their emotions or engage in unhealthy habits.

You can support your child’s mental health by encouraging healthy relationship with social media, healthy eating, exercising, and talking openly about feelings without yelling or judging. Ensure they can identify when they are struggling and help them find safe individuals to speak with if they are too embarrassed to talk to you about a situation.

3. Be An Example

You are your child’s biggest example of how to interact with the world, so it’s important to model positive behaviors for them.

Be active and participate in social activities outside of your work or phone. Treat others respectfully, set appropriate boundaries and limit your screen time.

Your children can also learn how to interact with peers by practicing similar interactions with you, so have fun together. Doing enjoyable things with your child can help you bond and show them how someone who loves and respects them should treat them. All these things help them decide who they will be as an adult.

Set a dedicated time to talk to your child every day, asking more in-depth questions than simply knowing how their day was. Small talks about their favorite food, new friends, and other personal matters help develop a stronger parent-child relationship. When your child feels that you’re interested in what they have to say, they’ll look forward to it every time instead of spending time on social media.

ENCOURAGING THEIR SOCIAL LIFE

Your child has unique interests and hobbies. They may find similar peers and activities online, but it’s important to encourage social interactions away from the screen. Helping them learn in-person communication as a child sets them up to be happy, productive adults.

They’ll be more open in communicating with other people verbally. This is crucial in building healthy interpersonal relationships. This is especially true when they reach the adulthood stage. Your child will become more sensitive to other people’s feelings, as well as their own. Increased awareness about self and others is an integral aspect of developing good coping mechanisms. You can talk to a child expert to get personalized recommendations as to how you can best deal with your child based on a thorough evaluation.

Share This Article

The Good Side to Social Media

The Good Side to Social Media

Do you ever hear about the positive sides of social media? Probably not very often. The negative press outweighs the positives. Scams, bullying, misinformation, privacy concerns. There are also the concerns when a person spends too much time on social media. It can take them away from interacting with friends and family in real life, leading to isolation.

While all of these issues are important to be aware of, there’s a positive side to social media that can’t be ignored. These upsides are the very reason why this worldwide phenomenon has grown experientially over the years, which has led to a growing number of social media apps.

Let’s take this time to remind ourselves about some of the positive sides of social media.

Storing Memories

Social media is very good at giving us an archived history of our lives. Each moment captured in time through photos.  One of the first social media platforms, Facebook, will even let you know of what you were doing 10 years ago on any given day.  On Instagram alone, 66,000 photos are shared every minute. That’s quite the collection of pictures.  The number of digital memories that add up over time is incredible.

Combine Facebook and Instagram together and there’s an unbelievable amount of content online. It’s special to look back on them – and you can even turn them into physical photo books with services like mysocialbook.com. You can download them, and they’ll become a book. With the number of social media hacks blocking people out of accounts, this is way to secure your photos in a way that is also enjoyable to look at.

Connecting Communities

Social media is excellent for connecting communities – we’re in touch with more people than we’d ever be able to if we didn’t have social media. it can even be a great tool for making friends – there are pages specifically for it. One of them is Find My Tribe.

That tribe can be fellow gardening enthusiasts, vintage car lovers, or aspiring chefs.

And there are some excellent pages for positivity and self-confidence boosting – something social media is known for doing the opposite of.  Social media in general is all about connecting likeminded people. The people you follow and in turn follow you are the ones you agree with on many issues.  This can be a lifeline for those who are lonely, even though we’ve already stated that social media can cause isolation for those who are normally outgoing in the real world.

Learning and Inspiration

Social media has endless amounts of knowledge and creativity. And yes, sometimes, that knowledge isn’t true. Always fact-check a video you see on TikTok before believing it. Even Taylor Swift is on a social media ban because of a deep fake picture posted of her.

Still, it’s great for learning and inspiration. Platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn offer opportunities that are great for it. You can pick up a new hobby, learn a language, and gain skills that advance your career.

Or you can spend the day watching TikTok Cook or TikTok Fitness. There’s incredible content everywhere. Of course, safe guards need to be in place for children to ensure they don’t fall victim to harmful content and cyberbullying.

Empowering Voices

Social media can be great for empowering voices. Again, TikTok and Instagram shorts are becoming a great example of this. TikTok is creating a ton of influencers with a voice. And it’s great for more excellent issues, like campaigns for environmental conservation and human rights – and some videos are doing that. Tons of money gets raised for different causes because of the awareness videos make.

Social media can be a conduit for bad, and bad news gets the clicks and makes news stories more popular. So, it’s logical that it doesn’t get a lot of positive press. The media focuses on the negatives. In reality, we wouldn’t be as connected to the world as we are without it. Many of us can’t imagine our lives without it.  For those in oppressed countries, social media is a lifeline for to make change by informing the world about their situation. This as the case in the Arab Spring.

Social media is what we make of it. If we use it mindfully in a health way, it’s a positive and powerful tool. Let’s keep scrolling, sharing, and connecting, making the most of the positive aspects of social media. Let’s stand up for what is wrong and pass on what is good in the world.

Share This Article

How Social Media Is Making Kids Grow Up Too Fast

Many parents feel like their children are growing up too fast with the help of social media. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram give kids access to endless information and content. Kids today know more, but they are also at risk of encountering ideas that may affect the speed of their psychological and social development.

While some of the things they see aren’t necessarily harmful, the biggest question is how to ensure your young ones are interacting with content that is age-appropriate and conducive to their development. Here’s how social media is making children grow up too fast and what you can do about it.

Ways Social Media Making Kids Grow Up Too Fast

While helpful educational tools and people are producing interesting content that can benefit people of all ages, misinformation and dangerous content will inevitably abound in that same space. According to an All About Cookies survey, 50% out of 1,000 parents felt that the internet makes kids grow up too fast.

Here are a few examples of what kids are exposed to on social media and how it can cause them to skip pivotal stages of their growth:

Risky behavior: Since the prefrontal cortex is the last to mature, your child’s emotional and impulsive regions are still developing, which means they may have higher impulsivity and lower ability to weigh potential risks carefully. While influencers can be grown adults who know the consequences of their actions, kids may put themselves in unnecessarily risky situations for the thrill and excitement they see online.

Makeup and fashion: Younger children are learning how to do their makeup and may want to dress according to adult fashion trends, whereas pretend makeup and fruity lip gloss may have sufficed in previous years. This may make kids feel they must alter their appearances to be considered presentable or beautiful.

Eating disorders: Anyone can post about their exercise or eating habits online, and it isn’t always healthy. Content ranges from information about intermittent fasting and juice cleanses — which may be helpful for adults but pose health risks to children — all the way up to models who eat raw liver and half-boiled chicken to keep in shape.

Comparison: Constant exposure to curated content depicting success, beauty and happiness may make kids feel their lives are less than others. The pressure to live up to unrealistic standards for online validation may contribute to adolescent body image issues, low self-esteem and anxiety.

Mature content: The more children are active online without limits to what they see, the more they will encounter inappropriate content in the form of violent videos, suggestive imagery and music, and adult jokes.

Fostering Healthy Social Media Use

While social media may be causing kids to grow too fast, there are ways to support your little ones, teach them how to think critically, and decide how it impacts them and their choices. Some people suggest they shouldn’t use social media at all, but keeping them away is almost impossible. The best thing you can do is review your little one’s social media accounts and access them occasionally.

You know how your child understands the world, and what they need to be healthy emotionally and mentally. Content that’s appropriate for them may not be so for another child.

Be transparent with your kids, create a safe and open space to discuss what they see, and guide them on healthy social media usage. Teach them to think critically, recognize their mental and emotional states, and take breaks as necessary. Too much screen time can negatively affect mental health, so they must get away for a time. Encourage alternate, extracurricular activities like reading physical books and joining clubs more than spending time on a screen.

Why It’s Important to Develop Healthy Social Media Habits

When you think about how much time kids spend online, you see social media’s impact on their growing minds. Their reasoning abilities are still developing, so they may have challenges differentiating between reality and staged content.

In addition, a still-developing prefrontal cortex means they’re still learning how to regulate their emotional responses to social rewards. With positive shares, likes and comments readily available for people who represent themselves in certain ways, they may feel they must be the same way to be liked or valued in society.

Popularity online may cause children to skip the pivotal awkward stage where they figure out who they really want to be as they grow. Receiving constant likes and comments is different from a compliment from a friend in person and may wire their brain to follow the social rewards of online popularity.

Help Your Kids Use Social Media Healthily

Social media is here to stay and although it has adverse effects, there are also many ways it can be helpful, positive and educational. The key is to help your children develop good habits that support their mental and emotional health as they grow.

Cora Gold - Editor in ChiefAuthor bio:  Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She strives to live a happy and healthy life with her family by her side.
Follow Cora on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Share This Article

Does Social Media Decrease Kids’ Attention Span?

Does Social Media Decrease Kids' Attention Span?

We live in a digital age, with new technology developing faster than we can keep up. Information and entertainment are available at our fingertips through the Internet. As a result, many people have gotten used to the instant gratification that comes with scrolling social media–especially kids who have grown up with it.

It often seems like kids can’t focus as well as they used to, which some think is a result of social media and screen use. Does social media decrease kids’ attention? The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Where Do Attention Spans Come From?

Everyone gets distracted, often at certain times of the day. It’s why energy drink advertisements talk about “that 2:30 feeling” or “the afternoon slump.” You’ll have periods when you feel more productive and energetic and others where almost anything can bring you out of the task at hand. The same goes for kids.

When babies are born, their brains have 100 billion neurons. While they arrive well-equipped, they spend their early years learning to make connections between those neurons. Your child’s brain develops as they have interactions and experiences.

We take in more information in the first five years of life than the rest of it put together. The brain will create new connections throughout the first decade, and its cells will grow.

How Social Media Affects Children’s Attention Span

Kids get easily distracted because their brain uses all the input around them to create a neural network that will guide their thoughts and actions throughout their life — social media or no social media, that would be the case. However, social media can often make it worse.

Sleep Deprivation

Circadian rhythm affects our kids’ attention span. When tired, children are less likely to pay attention to things. Adults need between seven and nine hours each night, but kids need between nine and 14 hours, depending on their age and routine.

Since their brains take in so much information during the day, a good night’s sleep is vital to correctly processing it. If not, they could get stuck processing yesterday’s information as they’re exposed to even more. Staying up late on social media is a major distraction that can cut into precious sleep time.

Plus, blue light from screens can impact sleep quality. The light suppresses melatonin — a hormone needed for deep, adequate sleep. Experts recommend putting away all devices two to three hours before bed, so their brain has enough time to unwind before sleep.

Habit

Both kids and adults with devices can fall into scrolling social media as a habit. What started as something to check in on a few times a day became something we look at in any free moment. For some, having a device within reach makes them want to check their Facebook or Instagram accounts or scroll through TikTok.

Devices are an easy, quick fix for overwhelmed parents. A phone or tablet can be a savior on a road trip or when waiting for an event. However, the more kids get used to filling that empty time with streaming and social media, the more their brains will fall into the habit of always using it.

There’s a reason experts recommend limited screen time for kids. Too much multimedia multitasking with social networks, games and videos can negatively impact sensorimotor development, executive functioning and academic abilities. Getting into a habit of accessing the devices can prevent them from learning emotional regulation, environmental observation and other vital skills. With constant stimulation, the brain never gets the chance to get creative.

Kids and adults are now getting many small bits of information instead of a few long segments. When kids aren’t used to listening to a lesson or playing a lengthy game, they’ll find it harder to focus when they need the discipline to be academically and professionally successful.

Time management is one of the most essential skills for academic success. However, many students struggle with focus and tend to procrastinate, often wasting time on the Internet.

Social media can become an addiction for some kids, where their brains release dopamine when checking a platform. The desire to do it takes them away from experiencing the moment.

Anxiety

While some social media platforms have kids-specific apps that filter out vulgar language or photos, they can’t filter out the comparisons that begin at a young age. From toddlerhood, kids notice when someone else has something they don’t.

The fear of missing out can distract kids from what they have and the path ahead. Everyone is different, but impressionable young minds don’t always see it that way. Teenagers, in particular, face risks of cyberbullying over their posts and strive to mimic influencer attitudes and experiences — even if they don’t represent who they are.

Anxious comparison affects the attention span by putting the nervous system on edge. Research shows that anxiety from social media can create similar symptoms to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It keeps their mind from focusing on learning, chores or even entertainment. Social networking sites’ different posts, photos and hashtags constantly occupy them.

Helping Your Kids Improve their Social Media Activity

It’s clear how social media impacts attention spans, especially among children. Working with kids to improve their habits and lengthen their focus is important. Practicing being away from screens and engaging in longer activities with them can help them break the habit. Make a few small changes and the difference in their attention span may surprise you.

Cora Gold - Editor in ChiefAuthor bio:  Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She strives to live a happy and healthy life with her family by her side.
Follow Cora on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Share This Article
Google Safe Search Explore the Safe Search Engine - Google for Kids