It is a matter of great concern for parents when it comes to finding out what their children are doing on the internet. Most of them often worry about whether their children are using the internet safely and are safe on social media sites.
Even though they are not a couple anymore, the famous Hollywood celebrities, Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie both recently confirmed that they take safety measures on their children’s internet usage to keep them protected online. They also intend to keep tabs on their social media activity as they become older.
On the other hand, Apple CEO Tim Cook also recently suggested he would never want his nephew on a social media platform because he knows what sort of risks children can encounter on such platforms. A few years ago, Apple Founder Steve Jobs said that he didn’t want his children to even own an iPad.
What could be the reason? The answer is quite simple. Many children’s health experts have warned that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to young children and teens. Of course, we shouldn’t ignore how useful social media can be for our children but its overindulgence can lead them to severe problems and risk their online safety.
Recommended Social Media Usage for Kids
According to a study by UNICEF, it was reported that spending some time on social media turns out to be good for the children as it helps them develop social relationships. On social media sites, children can connect with their friends and stay informed of what’s happening around the world.
However, overindulgence and excessive use of social media can also be damaging to our kid’s mental health. On average, a teen spends about nine hours a day in front of his/her screen. It’s equivalent to a full-time job. According to an article published by Independent, it has been reported that just by spending two hours on social media, a teen can develop feelings of unhappiness and anxiety.
Normally, it is recommended to spend about sixty or ninety minutes on screens every day. In the other hours, teens should focus on other activities such as face-to-face interactions with their friends and family members, sports, school homework, etc.
With this much screen time, it has been seen that teens tend to stay happy and do better in school. Moreover, they tend to be satisfied. While it’s true that this can be a major shift for most teenagers, so if you have decided to go for it and limit your teen’s screen time, we would suggest you start doing it by having a conversation about making a slow and steady change.
When to Make Your Kids Cut Back on Social Media
Some significant symptoms will inform parents that their children need to cut back on social media. According to Common Sense Media, fifty-percent of teens have said that they are addicted to their cell phones. As per CSM, an in-depth study is required to understand how strong social media addiction is. However, some prominent symptoms are felt by the teens that help us understand when they need to cut back on social media.
Parents can identify when their children are becoming addicted to social media. Some common symptoms found in children can help us understand that they are spending too much time on social media sites or their screens in general. They are as follows:
- When children begin to withdraw from face-to-face communication.
- When they feel anxious, stressful, or overwhelmed by their normal routines.
- When their grades begin to drop and homework/assignments show poor work or are left uncompleted.
- When they avoid real-life responsibilities such as homework or house chores.
- When they are unresponsive or behave ill-mannered in front of people.
- When they experience a lack of sleep and overall disruption in their sleep patterns.
Tim Elmore narrated about an experiment that he conducted on a group of college students in an article published in Psychology Today. He asked them to surrender their cell phones for a day so he could try out an experiment and find out results. So what did he discover? Well, he discovered that the first two hours without cell phones were quite horrific for the students. After a few hours, they begin to feel less stressful.
It was surprising to find out that students started to feel liberated from the addiction to their devices. As the day neared to its end, they came up to Tim and hold him how good it was to not be enslaved to their cellphone and that they would do anything to unplug on a regular basis.
Parents Monitoring Kids Social Media the Right Way
When it comes to monitoring kids social media activity, many parents differ in their opinions. Some think it is necessary to check on their kid’s social media activity whereas others think it’s not the right thing as they are invading their privacy.
However, in our opinion, it is mandatory for parents to keep tabs on their children’s social media activity. By monitoring their social media activity, parents can be fully aware of what their children are doing online, what sort of content they are posting, and who they are communicating with.
Children are not fully aware of the potential dangers lurking on social media sites. Online dangers like cyberbullying, pedophilia, sexting, and pornography are ever-present on social media, wreaking havoc on our children’s lives.
Many teens become victim of cyberbullying when they receive offensive and threatening messages online. On the other hand, they also receive propositions from adults with bad intentions and sometimes engage in sexting.
As per the statistics, it was revealed that almost 71% of teens admitted hiding their online activities from their parents. As long as your children are young and minors, you should definitely check on their social media activity to find out what they have been up to.
To monitor their social media activity effectively, you can use a monitoring app like Mobistealth to find out what’s happening in your child’s life. The good thing about using this monitoring app is that it lets you monitor their activity in complete stealth mode. This means your child won’t be able to know that their social media activity is being monitored.
Besides using social media monitoring apps, you can also encourage your children to enable privacy settings on their social media accounts to ensure they stay safe online.