Social media and the internet have become a part of daily life. So much so that the effects and power of social media are rubbing off on our children. A lot of parents actually find it easier and quicker to communicate with their children through social media. As a result, an increasing number of secondary school aged students now own mobile phones, have access to the internet and are on several social media sites. While you are at work or busy doing other things, do you know what your children are up to on the internet and on social media? It is to say the least that this exposes and endangers children who are left unmonitored with access to social media and the internet and here is why.
1. Children become exposed to so many strangers online. Personally, I keep getting requests on Facebook from random strangers – people I do not know – of course I don’t accept them as I see my Facebook page as my personal space. However, for most youngsters who are at the exploring stage, trying to make friends, any stranger is a potential friend.
2. Children are being continuously exposed to all sorts of materials online and are learning things they should not know at their age simply by being on social media unsupervised. These days, there are lots of what should be age restricted videos circulating freely on the internet and social media. Videos of group violence, sexual exploitation, hate crimes and so much more. Unintentionally, they come across these videos and curiosity gets the better of them.
If your children must have internet/social media, ensure that the use of these sites are supervised and do not hesitate to block any sites if necessary. The internet can be used positively by children for research or to improve their knowledge on a particular subject. In fact, there are a lot of sites children can go to in order to improve a positive learning experience. The point to note is that internet use has to be supervised at all times where practically possible.