Our government has set a minimum age for some things, such as drinking, driving, and voting. They have never set age for online activities. According to a report, 55% of parents of 12-year-olds said their child was on Facebook. 41% of teens had a negative experience by using social media sites.

We all are familiar with social media, it is an online platform used globally by people to interact, express and share information. Every kind of information is just a click away. There is no denying the fact that it has changed the way people think and communicate with each other.

No doubt it serves the content that interests children and people. Some popular social networking sites are – Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. But these social media sites have become a buzzword in this digital age and children are mostly affected by this technology. Children can be seen spending much time on the internet and social media these days. Teenagers and youngsters are more into this virtual world than reality. Parents should understand that social media is way more than chatting, posting and sharing. It has become a source of some serious problems, which they should look after so that it won’t affect their child both mentally and physically.

Following is a list of some harmful effects of social media that can seriously affect your child:

  1. CYBERBULLYING: Cyberbullying is false use of social media platform, where many faceless evils threaten, do false communication and embarrass or hostile information to specifically targeted users. The major harmful effects of it include psychological problems, depression, stress and anxiety with low-self esteem problems.
  2. LACK OF SLEEP: Social media is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation in children. Your child’s sleep gets disrupted when they use social media accounts during sleeping time. The risk of sleep loss includes loss of energy, concentration, and stress. The regular poor sleep can put your child into a serious medical condition like obesity, heart disease, and psychological disorders.
  3. POOR CONCENTRATION:  The excess use of social media can harm your child concentration for doing his schoolwork, class work and homework. The researches have shown that the constant interruption by social media notifications and messages has a very bad effect on the attention skills of a child, which later on affects his learning performance. 
  4. FACEBOOK DEPRESSION: It is a type of emotional disturbance, which is associated with social media usage.  It happens, when a child feels inferior due to his social media counterparts. Children often become prey of this type of depression, known as Facebook depression.
  5. DECREASED ACTIVITY: Children who spend too much time on social media, they do not spend enough time on that increases their mental & physical skills. The interest in playing outside and exploring the real world gets less. The release of endorphin hormone gets low, which helps your child to stay positive and reduce depression.There are various other effects like Internet addiction, lower self-esteem and lack of interpersonal skills, which can harm your child due to overuse of social media. As a parent, you have the responsibility for your child’s safety. You shouldn’t take this problem easily.Following is the list of parental advice that can help you to prevent your child from the harmful effects of social media:

    1. TEACH POSITIVE UTILISATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Most of the parents don’t focus on their child to teach them positive use of social media. They don’t even teach them what social media is? How to use it? And it’s functioning, that’s why most of the children get into above-listed troubles. You should teach your child about social media and its good use, before letting them to make their account on social media sites. If you don’t know about social media and its functions then learn about it.

You can encourage your child to showcase his art, creativity, and talent by making a Facebook page and YouTube channel. He can make a social group with his friends. It will help him to innovate new things and enhance his communication skills

 

2. MODERN ROUTERS: Most  ISP’s provide MODEM’S/Modern routers have the ability to block websites by IP address. You can Filter MAC (Media Access Control) and block the internet connection to your chosen devices at a certain time of the day. Many ISP’S & Mobile network services also provide age-related filtering services, which stops under 18’s from watching harmful content.

The other option is Open DNS (Domain Name System) that can give you better family filtering. It actually translates the memorable names into IP addresses such as Facebook.com into numerical IP Address. Next time when your child will search his domain name, he won’t be able to access it, but these technological solutions will provide you a limited solution, it is better to work for a negotiated social solution because your child needs a good knowledge full discussion about using social media.

 

 3. DO NOT BLOCK HIS ACCESS: Parents shouldn’t block their child’s access to social media.

It will make him stubborn. Instead of putting a restriction, you should make him understand the bad results of overusing it. Your child needs the freedom to explore the new things, if you won’t introduce him to social media, he will find other ways, which you never know, what they could be? It is because you can’t stop a child’s curiosity to explore new things. Social media is a platform, where more than half the population of the world resides. It includes a wide variety of stuff like education, social awareness, News updates, new trends, etc. As a parent you never want your child to get away from these important things.  Teach them the positive utilization of social media, so that you don’t need to worry about them.

 

4. SET UP CHILD ACCOUNTS: There are very few adult services which allow you to set up child accounts, but Microsoft is one of them which allow making child accounts in Microsoft Windows, and Google. It offers a Family link for Android users and Apple phones

When it comes to managing the child’s safety, the Microsoft child accounts works according to three age groups

  • Young child: Below 8-year-old
  • Child: From 8 – 12 year old
  • Teen: From 13 to 17-year-old (up to 19 in South Korea

You can also download a parental-control program on their phones. For example Teensafe, My mobile watchdog, Net Nanny, Qustido, etc.

 

5. ALLOW SOCIAL MEDIA ON LARGE SCREENS: Smartphone’s, iPad and tabs are handy gadgets which allow your child to stay busy in the virtual world of social media sites anywhere at any time. You never know, how much time your child spends on his Smartphone in his bedroom. It can lead him to sleep loss, which can cause him serious physical & mental problems. Parents should place a personal computer in a commonplace of the house and make their child use social media on larger screens. It will reduce the overuse of social media platform by their child and let you keep an eye over their online activities.

 

6. FOLLOW THEIR ACCOUNTS: The rising activity of Cyberbullying has increased the responsibilities of parents. There is no way besides sneaking in the privacy of your child. Parents should keep an observant eye on the online activities of their child. What they are sharing & posting? What type of friend circle they have in social media sites? Teach your child that they should never post their internal feelings in social media because anyone can play with their emotions and do Cyberbullying. Follow your child by making an unknown account, it helps you to analyze his online activities.

 

7. SPEND SOME REAL TIME WITH THEM: Quality time with your child always nurture his mental stability and power. Parents are always a figure of idealism for their children. If they spend time with their child in productive discussions, enjoyment, exploration, and guidance, then for sure they will mark your every word in their mind. Your child needs some real time to come out from his virtual world and feel the importance of real socialization rather than virtually socialized. Therefore always take out some quality time from your busy schedule. After all, you are the only one who has the responsibility of raising them an able person.