Social media is a powerful tool used in day-to-day activities to disseminate and search for information. For example, Facebook and Instagram make it easy for people to communicate with each other irrespective of their locations.
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Teenagers are not the exception, as they are keen on surfing the Internet and spending hours on social media. Some parents are restricting their children from using networks due to several reasons. According to Diana Koroleva, an author of research on the interaction of adolescents with new information technologies who is also an analyst of the Center for the Study of Modern Childhood, the recent development is barbaric and undeserving.
Whether parents should restrict their children in the usage of different platforms or not, is very popular now. Thus, in the article, we’ll discuss some myths about social media, why teens are so addicted, and how parents can handle it.
Why are teenagers under social media power?
Teens find social media being multipurpose. A new study even suggests that young ones without Internet access at home are educationally disadvantaged. They use the digital world to watch videos, download movies, listen to music, and even study for exams and search for information. If they are not satisfied with the result, they get search engines to help. As a result, social media platforms have become an essential part of every teenager wherein they find answers to their questions and socialize with others.
Of all the benefits attached, young people prefer popular platforms where they can connect with like-minded, maintain communication with their friends, and have fun. Social media is like a bridge between real and online worlds, especially for many teenagers.
When youngers post different pictures on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, their messages can reach a broad audience. In this case, the purpose of sending out images to so many people are fulfilled effortlessly. Sometimes, they might have to buy social signals (Instagram likes and followers) so that their publications can have more engagement.
In addition to these, social media allows teens to express their feelings through music, quotes, and images. In the buildup to our research, we noticed that young people publish almost everything going on in their lives on their pages. But as they grow, they remove what is no longer relevant and create a better impression about themselves. Adolescents, on the other hand, use social media to save and retrieve valuable memories.
The Myths about social media platforms
When social networks started, everyone thought it’s dangerous and would hide the real attitude of many users. Some people even opined that it was made to create a diversion of thoughts, distraction, and addiction to all. Although some individuals are putting fake names to register on some websites to perpetrate evil deeds, this is not always true. The majority use social media platforms to do positively great things. But still, only a few parents know and agree with this fact.
Hidden true identity
The less part of teenagers is writing fictitious names or fake identities. They use their real names and even surnames except with a few changes for uniqueness. Some could also customize their names or attach nicknames. Moreover, the information on their profiles is an accurate representation of whom they are.
The strange people are using networks too
Teenagers are very selective when it comes to communication and making friends. They choose who they want to communicate with, and they don’t entertain forceful conversations or chats. However, they add strangers or have them as friends when they may buy followers. Even in this case, young people are still very careful about how they relate to such guys. Teens know who their friends are, and they are conscious of the fact that they cannot associate with personally unknown users the exact way they relate with their playmates.
Some parents often check their children’s phones and see their chats with adults. But generally, according to the study, these teenagers are very courteous in dealing with elder and strange people.
Virtuality vs Reality
Virtual life is an integral part of the modern technology world but has not entirely replaced face-to-face communication. We found out that adults are getting in touch through the Internet more often than teenagers. For example, most companies prefer to organize virtual conference meetings for their employees, as it’s a very convenient way of dealing with tasks. At the same time, youngers find this gathering weird.
However, social media is beneficial for young people, as now they can check what is happening in the world, enjoying the comfort of their rooms. They can also receive situation reports from online groups, always being aware of hot-news.
Bad things may happen
Many people believe that social media is harmful to teenagers because they’re exposed to negative things. For example, some say most young ones learn the use of abusive words and vulgar languages from the Internet. However, this is not 100% true. Many teenagers will resist the urge to use “bad” words, and only those who find it cool or behave aggressively will do so.
New kind of addiction
From the psychological point of view, social media is not an addiction as everyone is addicted to something. People depend on a particular lifestyle, drugs, accessories, games, etc. Hence, surfing the Internet can’t be generally considered addiction as parents perceive it.
A distractive time spending
Nowadays, everyone can multitask. The social network is not a distraction but rather a tool that can help increase the rate at which you execute a particular task. A child could be doing the necessary assignments and yet be listening to the favorite music on headsets. Apart from teenagers, anyone could do it, and grown-ups are not the exception.
Parents “in friends”
As a result of advancements in modern technology, almost every person, including children, has at least one gadget. For example, in the UK, an average teenager owns six devices, and they spend twice-time longer on social media platforms than their parents do. Hence, prohibiting children from using gadgets is not an effective way of keeping them around. When you deprive them of access to these new technology products, they feel the consequences the most, as they are getting unable to learn and socialize as already used to.
Anyway, it’s crucial to be in touch with the children to know how they are doing and have an eye on the essential events in their lives. In essence, this doesn’t mean parents are choking their children or monitoring their lives – it’s just a necessary duty every parent has to handle without breaching their kid’s privacy.
Most parents often monitor their children’s activities on social networks, looking through their Instagram feed and Facebook pages. However, this is unnecessary, as most of these teenagers will gladly add their parents, teachers, family members, and other adults up as their friends. If such a kid ever had a plan to be wayward or rascal on the Internet, he or she wouldn’t have added parents. The child could have used a fake identity to create such a social media account.
In most situations, children don’t mind what they post on social media, and they don’t feel timid to publish some oddball events. However, to control this, parents have two critical steps to take.
First, adults must be able to calmly approach the matter and react friendly to any misdemeanor they notice in their children’s social media posts.
If a parent doesn’t react friendly or correct the child with love but reacts harshly, the kid may be forced to remove him or her from the friends’ list. This will only make the grown-ups more restless because they won’t have access to know what is going on. Therefore, it is better to choose to be a neutral observer and then intervene when you notice that something is wrong.
Second, the teen may not fully understand what he or she publishes on social media, and parents have to interpret the meaning of the information calmly.
For example, one woman was following her daughter’s social network activities and knew about it. The girl made a post with the next words – “I now feel like Harry Potter on October 31.” Her mother, having seen the publication, didn’t suspect anything wrong and continued her daily activities. According to the story, people who have read the book know that Harry Potter’s parents died on October 31. The girl didn’t realize what she posted until some of her “friends” who understood the context began to console her with soothing tributes in the comment section.
Besides, parents should understand that boredom is one of the reasons children turn to social media. They tend to switch to real talks when they want to discuss something with their family members. Teens enjoy virtual conversations more, especially with their friends. Thus, if you’re looking for a way to discourage your kids’ attention from the virtual world, you must provide a satisfying substitute. Something the child will appreciate and instead spend more time with.
Social media upgrades the way of life
The new generation is blessed with modern technologies, which in reality is kind of similar to what happened to their parents when they were young — such as listening to music, collecting albums, records, talking to friends, reading books, searching for information about studying, etc.
Today, it’s only a bit different because teenagers can do all these on social networks. It turns out that the mechanisms and the prospect have changed, but the purpose hasn’t. Hence, you need to be calm about this and trust your child – spend more time with each other, both offline and online. Try yourself on social networks and make friends with your kids there. Be a parent, a friend, and a teacher.