- Internet & the Web
Are you 18+? Children and Social Media
This article was born out of a simple joke that was floating in Whatsapp. A friend of mine forwarded me a joke in Whatsapp a few days back. When I read it I had a hearty laugh.
Son- Daddy I have ten different ID's in FaceBook
Daddy- What are you doing with so many fake ID's?
Son- Remember Mellisa? The lady whom you asked to meet this Sunday evening in Starbucks? That is one of my ID.
This joke made the father look like a fool. Agreed. But it also sent a very serious message. We need to read between lines. These are warning signs of things not going right. If we are not aware of what our children are actually doing and how they are passing their time then we might end up being a party to their mistakes. This joke made me think seriously about the evil side of these social media sites and their effect on our children.
Social Media Sites.. A necessity or a Status Symbol
Even I have a Facebook account. But it is now near dormant. As I rarely go to my Facebook account. I was also part of the social status race sometime back. I felt left out when my friends once asked me how come I was not in Facebook. My immediate reaction was having an account and sharing my details with my friends. Within no time I had a decent amount of followers and a lot of friends. I made it a point to upload all my recent photos and also update my status regularly.
Slowly but surely I became an addict. I was hooked on to my smart phone the whole day. I was socially updated and was very famous in my so called social circle. All my activities were getting reflected in FB.
Children and Social Media sites
It took a lot of self restrain and control to let go of my habit of being hooked to social media sites. More than anything else it was peer pressure. The feeling of being left out in the so called friends circle that made me addicted to social media sites.
If you think that peer pressure is only among the adults then it is also seen among children. In fact it is visible more in teenagers. They want to be a part of their friends circle. They want to be updated with what is happening at that moment. They cannot afford to be left out.
It all starts with a simple ID creation. A few updates here and there and the craze of having multiple friends. Then slowly they start getting into the black hole of social media. At that age it is very difficult for the children to differentiate between right and wrong and usually they prefer going with the flow. They feel being adventurous is the so called "in thing". And even before they know they are trapped.
Where to draw the line?
At their age it is difficult for the children to know where exactly should they be drawing the line. Some are lucky to get the help of their parents. Some are not. And the unfortunate and unlucky ones go to such extremes that they end up taking the extreme steps.
I am not against social media sites. But excessive usage and addiction towards it is what is becoming a cause of worry. Who is the deciding factor as to where the line should be drawn? The children? The parents? Society? Social Media Site owners?
We parents need to think about it seriously. When was the last time we sat with our children and had a talk? When did we set an example to them by showing the importance of family values? We are so busy with our fast paced life that we unknowingly end up ignoring our children. Then blame it on the society. How conveniently have we forgotten that society is made up of us and we are not made of the society.
We are so busy with our parties and friends and our work that we hardly know what are kids are up to now a days. This is not a healthy sign. It is high time we gave it a thought or else it might be too late.