When it comes to children and teenagers, social media use is often a topic of debate. Throw in cyberbullying and cyberstalking in the mix and there’ll be plenty of controversy to go around. However, new research indicates that there are plenty of potential benefits for young social media users—who use it wisely.
According to experts, many benefits can be attained from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media communities. Granted, parents need to regulate their children’s social media use depending on his/her level of maturity. Nevertheless, researchers advise parents to develop their child’s social media skills to strengthen their personal relationships and social support.
“There’s quite a few benefits to social networking in terms of deepening your relationships, extending your relationships, and the depth of support you have to draw on when faced with import decision-making,” explained Christine Greenhow, an assistant professor in educational psychology in Michigan State University. “Social media savvy is fast becoming a workplace necessity. Employers want to hire people who can use social media well and leverage their networks for business purposes. As teachers or parents, we want to be aware of that and say, ‘well, how can we help our kids develop the social media savvy they need to be successful?’ The first step to that is acknowledging that these are skills that kids need to develop.”
Greenhow outlined some points on how parents can help cultivate their children’s social media skills:
• Parents should be aware of how social media works
• Parents need to explain the terms of service for the children to educate them on how to use the site
• Parents need to remind their children not to post anything that can compromise their public image
• Parents also need to set appropriate limitations to prevent overuse