Social Media

Social media have become a common part of modern life and is used by adults and children alike. However, questions about the harm social media is causing its users have become a growing concern. An area of specific worry is the effect it has on children. Children are quite vulnerable and can be susceptible to the many hazards social media presents. If a social media website harmed your child as a parent, you might be worried about what to do next. It’s easy to underestimate the dangers of social media, especially if you don’t use it yourself or use it very infrequently.

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Table of Contents

Common Social Media Dangers

Social media on its own is not a danger and, if used correctly and with a degree of boundaries, can be fun and in no way a danger. However, it’s the use of social media and that your child can encounter that makes it dangerous.

  • Oversharing: a trend of current internet use is a degree of oversharing of personal information. Sharing too much personal information, personal location, school attendance, and other daily habits or activities can put your child in danger. Sharing too much information over a long period can lead to hacking, theft of personal information, and even stalking. Even something as innocent as a vacation picture can be used by those with bad intent.
  • Private Settings Are Not Perfect:when you private your account, it makes your information only accessible to friends and other selected parties. While setting your account to private is certainly better than not doing so it is still not fail-proof. Your child can share information with friends whose accounts may not be as secure, so information can still get out and be seen by those you don’t want to see it.
  • Predators: social media sadly has its share of criminals and predators looking to harm children. One of the key dangers of online predators is that they slowly build a ‘friendship’ with a child, often to convince the child to come to them. Inappropriate questions, questions unrelated to the topic, and demands of secrecy are all signs of danger a child should look out for and be made aware of.
  • Cyberbullies: social media has issues with bullies much like in-person social spaces do. Bullying on a screen is often as damaging to a child’s self-esteem as other types of bullying. Cyberbullying is a major issue and one that has led children to self-harmin the past, often to tragic results. Always watch your child’s behavior for signs something may be bothering them and don’t let them use social media devices such as smartphones without proper supervision.
  • Misleading Posts: much of the material on social media does not accurately represent reality. Images showing perfect lifestyles, easy success, and wonder products are all carefully curated by social media influencers to present a certain image. Children may not realize that much of what they see is not truthful and this can lead to a variety of issues with how they view reality and themselves.

If your child has been harmed by social media, you should contact the proper authorities and legal representation as soon as possible. Just because the platform was online doesn’t make the harm done to your child any less real.