The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media

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Social Media is the name given to all the applications and websites that allow us to communicate, create and share using images, text, audio and video. As parents and educators adapt to the changing methods of communication, it is important to maintain and provide an environment that is safe for the girls. 

Children at increasingly younger and younger ages are pleading with their parents to allow them to set up a social media account. And often it’s much earlier than the legal age of 13 years. Some studies have suggested that as many as three-quarters of children aged 10-12 years have social media accounts, despite being below the legal age limit.

Principals Australia Institute (PAI) CEO, Paul Geyer, said today’s children live in a ‘constantly connected culture’ thanks to smartphones and social media.

‘This can lead us to compare ourselves to others to a sometimes obsessive degree, and also means it’s difficult to truly escape unhealthy interactions that could previously be left at the school gate.’

Dr Kristy Goodwin believes that if social media is introduced at the ‘right’ age, carefully monitored by parents and balanced with real, off-screen relationships, then it can be a meaningful communication tool for older children. Dr Goodwin is quite clear in her belief that social media should not be used or introduced to primary school students.

Social media can be a wonderful way to cater to teenagers’ need for social connection and can develop a sense of belonging. People from anywhere can connect with anyone. Regardless of the location. The beauty of social media is that you can connect with anyone to learn and share your thoughts. It is very easy to educate from others who are experts and professionals via social media. You can follow anyone to learn from him/her and enhance your knowledge about any field. Regardless of your location and education background you can educate yourself, without paying for it.

Like any technology, social media is merely a tool. It’s neither good nor bad. It really depends on how it’s used, with whom it’s used, when it’s used, where it’s used and what’s used. Dr Goodwin’s concern with social media is that children are being dunked in the social media world prematurely before they’re socially and emotionally ready.

It’s important as parents to help your child understand what sort of digital footprint they’re leaving on social media. To do this it is important to have clear guidelines and rules and ensuring to support your child by educating them in this fast changing world. 

 

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