THE PROS AND CONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
In our 21st century, it is impossible to live without the current technology. We can limit it, but not interact without it. So, what are the effects of social media on our relationships with our children/youth and how can we use technology without abusing it?
The Pros of Social Media
1. Technology can be used to keep families connected. It can help keep track of schedules, location, and a sense of security knowing that family members can be reached quickly if needed. As a parent, you feel reassured to be able to reach your child at any time you want.
2. For divorced or separated families, technology is helpful for more immediate voice or face contact. Some new apps can make communication and accountability more accessible and can be incorporated into a custody and visitation agreement. Technology can facilitate communication between co-parents, which alleviates the potential for conflicts.
3. 24/7 availability. Since the Internet never sleeps, you can access the resources you need anytime pretty much from anywhere. The online tools offer more information to your child than a library full of encyclopedias. Studies have linked Internet/social media use with greater success in academics.
The Cons of Social Media
1. The issue of anonymity. It allows for cyberbullying. Teens are often the victims, as bullies can target and prey on vulnerable middle/high school peers without taking personal responsibility.
2. The wrong type of connection. Social media can connect dissatisfied, disgruntled, and misguided people who will fuel each other’s negative attitudes and beliefs. Young people are often impressionable and eager for acceptance, which can cloud their judgement and make them easy preys.
3. Social media invites your child to compare herself with others. If your child/teen has low self-esteem issues and insecurities, reading and hearing about other people’s successes and happiness can deepen feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
Since it is unavoidable, it is our role as a parent to help our child/teen navigate the realm of today social media. Regular face to face conversations about it are essential to determine the limits and the benefits of its use. Being open to discussion while maintaining firm boundaries will help your child/teen develop a healthy attitude towards social media.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.