Dangers of Social Media for Kids (Educate Yourself; Protect Your Kids)
As parents, we are always looking for ways to protect our kids, especially when it comes to the dangers of social media and online networks. Educate yourself about the potential risks of social media platforms to protect your children & their mental health.
Outside of stranger danger and the fact that the internet is forever…there are other alarming factors concerning social media and your child’s mental health. But what are some of those dangers of social media?
How is social media contributing to a rise in poor mental health in our children?
The Dangers of Social Media for Kids
Also known as the “fear of missing out”, FOMO is something that plagues everyone from time to time. When our children spend much of their day building bonds or friendships it is only normal for them to want to hang out with them or be invited to a special event. Well what happens when they aren’t included? What happens when everything is posted online just for them to be a spectator? Many emotions begin to flood their precious heads and hearts that they may not know how to handle which will ultimately lead them down the rabbithole of “attacks on their mental health”.
Along with fomo, another danger of social media and kids mental health is anxiety. Instead of focusing on school work, sports, music or whatever makes them happy, the chance of heightened anxiety now consumes their day to day. They begin to question their value to their “friends” and classmates. “Will I get invited next time?” “Will they text me later?”, which can be a normal question to ask from time to time.. But if it’s daily or more often than a “once in a while” it can cause social anxieties that will only get worse as time goes on.
Social media should really be called “Social Highlights”. After all, who really wants to post the photo where their hair looks jumbled, their eyes were closed or their bedroom was a mess? Another danger in social media and kids mental health is that they are constantly comparing themselves to the kids in their class, Instafamous accounts and celebrities. Most of whom have a team to help them get ready every day. You only see the good on social media but rarely ever the reality.
We all know there is some old person telling their kids right now “back in my day, we didn’t have these luxuries!” Ok, it’s me.. I that old person lol! But seriously, social media can not only be addicting but it can consume so much time from our daily lives. When you add all the before mentioned dangers of social media, this one can really send your child to a dark place that many people, even adults, have struggled with. Which brings me to my final danger…
When you think about social media and how it affects your child’s mental health, you know that it can be pretty scary! Most children are not mentally strong enough to face these dangers so it leaves them feeling left out, afraid, unworthy and sad and to me, that is something that is just as scary when it comes to raising kids.
Social media can also lead to more serious concerns such as identity theft & impersonation. Even though your children are underage, their personal information can still be stolen from their online profiles. Social sharing can give identify thefts information to use in scams or other crimes. Be sure to manage what information they share online. Do not let them overshare with information such as location, age, school or address.
We are not experts on mental health or the scientific research put behind social media, but have first-hand experience with many of these topics. We have children growing up in a new technology-driven future; we have seen the effects that social media can have on a child or young adult.
We are not here to tell you how to raise your child or to avoid social media like the plague. But, we are here to share information on those dangers and encourage you to start or continue to talk to your children about the dangers of social media and the importance of things outside of social media & technology.
If your child is struggling with some of these dangers, Kansas City has many great resources that can help! Check out Caps4Kids to find more information on mental health & social media-related resources near you.