Did you know children between the ages of eight and 12 in the US spend 4–6 hours daily staring at screens? That’s 20–30 hours a week, not including the weekends. Spending that much time cooped up in the house rather than going outside for fresh air and physical activity is one reason adult or parental supervision is vital.
But while the potential dangers of social media have been widely published, that doesn’t mean social media can’t positively impact children. Anything taken in excess can have bad consequences. So, it’s about monitoring and limiting use rather than banning it.
Although social media can benefit kids, however, that doesn’t mean kids of all ages should use it. Some experts believe kids won’t be ready until about the 8th grade.
Kids need to socialise to build confidence and become independent later in life. When they engage in healthy social interactions, they’ll establish self-esteem and intestinal fortitude to face the challenges that life brings their way.
Children can develop social skills using social media. No, social media shouldn’t be a substitute for getting out, rubbing shoulders, and socialising with peers in person, but it can be a great way for kids to interact with people their own age.
Some children are naturally more reserved than others, so they might feel more comfortable expanding their circle of friends and acquaintances with like-minded kids online. Interacting via social media can help them get out of their comfort zone.
Children can use social media as long as they don’t spend too much time online, behave inappropriately, or divulge too much personal information.
Stay on top of the news
The 24/7 news cycle can overwhelm anyone. But kids can benefit by staying on top of what’s going on beyond the four walls and roofs of their homes. Social media provides a way to learn about what’s happening in their cities, states, nations, and beyond. If kids are interested in a specific type of news, they can search for what they like. However, parents should stay on top of things so their kids don’t overindulge in bad news. Depending on their ages, kids might have difficulty processing tragedies.
Bond with friends
In addition to using social media to socialise with people in general, children can also use their favourite social media platforms to keep in touch with their friends. It can supplement the time children spend together in school or elsewhere.
Connecting with friends online can be especially useful for children who can’t easily see their friends in person. Whether they live in rural areas, are home-schooled, or otherwise reside far from their friends, social media can keep kids connected.
It’ll allow them to stay in touch and keep the conversation going until they can meet up.
Have a good time
When used responsibly, kids can have a great time using social media. The problem is that social media can also be used for negative things, like cyberbullying. Parental supervision over usage and access to content can mitigate the negatives.
Adults must teach their kids how to use social media properly, encourage them to report any unseemly behaviour, and warn them against giving out personal information.
Kids can find interesting content and videos, share whatever they find with their friends and peers, discuss topics of shared interest, and more. Social media can be a great way for children to unwind, as long as they’re not staring at a screen all day.
Remember that too much of a good thing can turn into a negative thing, so balance is key. And that’s where the adults in their lives come into the picture. Kids must meet and greet people in person, play outside to get fresh air, go for walks or bike rides, and do other things that don’t involve screens.
Cooking and eating outdoors is one way to get kids out of the house. There are many options for outdoor meals. One option that’ll get kids excited is an outdoor pizza oven. They’ll be able to create their own personal pizzas, bake them to perfection, and chow down. Otherwise, a good old-fashioned BBQ or a meal cooked inside and enjoyed out on the back deck will suffice if the goal is to get kids outside of the house.
Robert Haynes, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.