Should Parents Restrict Teenagers’ Use of Social Media?
Social media has become so popular that it has infiltrated our daily lives. Especially for teenagers, social media has become an essential part of communication and social life.
Teenagers these days use social media to communicate with their friends. They use it to share precious moments with their social circle and connect with new people. Research has shown that teenagers learn, think, behave, and feel about themselves and other people around them through social media. Also, teens are becoming interested in becoming influencers by watching other people who have a lot of followers on these platforms. They are in search of Facebook free likes or Instagram followers. Issues like privacy, exposure to explicit content, and online predators surround teens in these online spaces.
Due to these issues, there is a debate about whether parents should control how their children or teenagers use social media.
Let’s Look at the Facts
The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) published data in 2017 that shows that 71 per cent of teenagers are using more than one social media website. Of them, 41 per cent use Facebook, 20 per cent use Instagram, 11 per cent use Snapchat, and 6 per cent of the teens are on Twitter. So our teens are spending most of their time on these social media websites, and this time could be spent elsewhere, playing outdoor games or socializing with friends in real life.
Problems That Teenagers Are Facing Due to Social Media Use
Teenagers have these screens in front of their eyes most of the time, which can create a lot of issues. This creates sleep problems in children by disturbing their sleep patterns. These apps are creating restlessness in teenagers.
Teenagers are bombarded with edited and curated images on Instagram, which make them feel less of themselves and create body image concerns or other psychological issues. These can lead to depression and other serious issues.
Cyberbullying is also a problem that is rising among teens. Online bullying is something that is easier to perform on these social media sites, and there is no escaping from it. It can happen on multiple platforms, and it heavily affects the quality of life of teens.
What Can You Do as a Parent?
There are a lot of ways you can monitor or handle the way your children are using social media. We have listed some of the healthy ways below:
● You can make a rule of not using social media or cell phones at the dinner table.
● You can create an account yourself and keep an eye on what the teens are doing on the apps.
● You can set up media-free zones in your home where cell phones and social media apps are not permitted.
● Teach your children about respecting others and how cyberbullying can affect others and themselves.
● Provide them with adequate sex education so that they are aware of online predators.
● Screen the movies or TV shows they are watching to see if they contain any harmful material for their age bracket.
● Engage them in activities that interest them apart from social media and spend more time with them on a daily basis.
As a parent, your duty is to protect and guide your kids. You cannot become a tyrant when dealing with issues like restrictions on social media use. But you do have to make some rules in your teenager’s life to create a healthy balance.