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Social Media Among Teens

Updated on March 26, 2016

Change your child's future today!

We all know that classic parent saying. “When I was a child social media was called ‘outside’”. Hilarious. Really. But unbeknownst to you, you are significantly reducing your child’s sociability by not allowing them access to social media. I mean, they call it SOCIAL media for a reason, right? If your child is making stupid decisions on their social media accounts its because you did not educate them properly. Social media is not an environment that is filled with pedophiles and kidnapping rapists, it is an environment where your child should feel safe and be free to have their own voice. It is a platform for maintaining strong friendships and keeping in touch with loved ones that are far away. I know every single one of you has a friend or family member far away that you would like to keep in contact with.

Social media can allow your children to keep involved with serious world issues and news stories, because God knows they aren’t going to sit down on the couch and watch the latest ‘exciting’ news story on tax evasions with you. No, they have ‘texting’ to do. I am not just going to tell you that social media is the best thing that has happened to our generation and that you should all go home and chuck your kids in front of a computer screen. What I am going to tell you is that social media is an important and useful tool that should hold significance in your child’s life as long as there are limits. Because lets be honest, if you let your child on social media for twelve plus hours a day, that kid is going to be seriously messed up.

When I was a young girl I was the most shy and awkward person you would have ever met in your life. I refused to talk to potential new friends, any human of the adult variety, and wouldn’t even go next door to ask my best friend of 5 years to come over to play. A lot of you may think that social media isolates children from the outside world and that it makes them shy and dependent on other people to do the talking for them. I can tell you right now this is 100% false. Social media was what got me to be the confident and independent person that I am today because it gave me a chance to practice giving myself a voice in a less daunting environment. Not only did it allow me to be myself, but it gave me inspiration to figure out the person that I truly wanted to be.

I know that a major factor which comes into play for all of you is the fact that social media can be a massive distraction, especially against school work or study. I completely agree with this because I was once a victim of this as well. A study was conducted which found that 76% of students are distracted by social media when trying to do school work. But that other 14%? Their parents are doing it RIGHT. It really all comes down to how YOU educate and discipline your child, because most kids don't even realise they are being distracted while its happening. Suddenly deciding to check a Facebook message for two minutes turns into ten minutes and then forty minutes until they end up not having a clue how they got there.

If your child knows to keep all social media resources away whilst doing school work and to not give out their personal information to that 14 year old rapist that’s been messaging them, they’ll be just fine. The most important thing to ensure your child does is to put privacy settings on all their social media accounts and only accept followers or friends if they are absolutely sure that they know them. It has been previously reported that up to 25% of Facebook users don't bother to put on privacy settings which can cause these people to be in serious danger of their personal information being exposed to potentially dangerous people.

To you, an adverse group of mature adults, it may sound totally insane, but some of my friends are actually people that I have never met. Yes, it is a controversial issue, talking to strangers online, but if you properly educate your child about the dangers of pedophiles, rapists, criminals and scams on social media they should build enough common sense to know what they are doing and be safe. There can of course be risks involved, but as long as your child knows not to expose any of their personal information to anyone no matter what, they can have the chance to meet extraordinary people a lot different to the same old people in their year at school.

I have met many friends through social networking, in fact, I met five of my best friends this way by having common interests that my school friends simply didn't have. All of them live spread out around Australia so it’s most likely that I will never meet them. But social media gives us the amazing opportunity to maintain and build friendships that we cannot do the natural way, or as you would call it, the old fashioned way. Social media makes communicating with people through a computer screen feel realistic and just as emotional as it would be in person. The ultimately unbelievable thing about social media is that you can stay in contact with anyone, anywhere. Friends should be such an important aspect of teenager’s lives and its important that they build on these friendships when away from school for moral support and perhaps talking to them about things they feel awkward talking to you about. Social media websites serve maintaining close friendships up on a silver platter.

In case you haven't caught on already, your child NEEDS social media in their lives. Any concerns you may have around it can be easily resolved through education and monitoring your child to keep their limits. As long as it is used correctly, social media should be something that comes in to play in everyone’s life. Not only does it provide important information on societal and world issues and give you the ability to gain yourself some independence, it gives you the perfect opportunity to keep strong friendships and family links going. Release your son or daughter in to the glorious social media world of entertainment, education and esteem immediately.


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