There’s no doubt that social media has infiltrated every part of our lives. This includes parents, kids, family members, coworkers, and just about anyone else that you can think of. When Facebook (arguably the first “real” social network) began, membership was restricted to college students. Now, just about anyone can join. While Facebook does have an age requirement – kids must be 13 years old to join – there are many ways to skirt this rule, and there are many kids on the network as well as others.
Kids can keep in touch – with so many people who have joined social networks, your kids are bound to have tons of friends and family members who are on them. They can use the networks to keep in touch with family members who are far away and chat with their friends.
Kids learn to be tech-savvy at a young age – there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s important for kids to learn how to use technology properly at a young age. Social networks can encourage kids to learn to type, surf the web, and stay safe, all at a young age.
Kids can enjoy the perks of social networks – let’s face it, social networks can be fun! Kids will get to share photos, anecdotes, and places they visit. They can also connect with the world around them.
You’ll have to worry about safety – Internet safety is becoming an increasingly important issue. For both people and business, you need to protect yourself. Probably the biggest downside to the Web is that you have virtually no way of knowing who is on the other side of the computer screen. This can make things particularly dangerous for kids.
Social networks can be a time-suck –Social networks and the games that come along with them can eat up precious family, study, or otherwise productive time. Just think of Farmville and Candy Crush Saga.
Cyber-bullying can be an issue – while this is still a relatively new phenomenon, cyber-bullying is a true problem when it comes to kids and social networks. The Internet seems to embolden people, and cyber-bullying can be much more vicious than bullying that occurs at school.
It’s up to parents to decide how comfortable they are with their kids and social networking. Just be aware that if you do allow your children to participate in social networking, that it’s essential to monitor their activity.