TODAY’S MOMS AND DADS HAVE TO CONTEND WITH AN ISSUE THAT WAS UNKNOWN TO THEIR PARENTS: CHILDREN’S USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA universe has grown exponentially since the launch of Facebook, the social network a lot of Millennial parents grew up with.
“Once moms, dads, and grandmothers started using Facebook, children found more ‘hip’ apps to occupy their time,” says Alyssa Van Duyse, Marketing Specialist at HSHS St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart hospitals. “The problem with many of these new apps is not necessarily that their developers are trying to take children down a dangerous path but that some children and adults do not use the apps as intended.”
HIDE AND SEEK
Children may use apps to conceal their identity and chat with strangers (examples: Yubo and Omegle), hide content (Calculator%, AppLock, Hide it Pro), send surreptitious messages (Sarahah), or mask their movements from phone-tracking parents (Fake GPS). To help your children use social media safely, set rules early on, use parental controls, and do your homework.
“Parents should keep researching to stay up to date about new, potentially unsafe apps,” Van Duyse says. “Make it a habit to review your children’s devices on a daily or weekly basis and talk with them about the benefits and dangers of social media.”
You can set goals and boundaries for your family’s use of media by creating an American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Use Plan. To get started, visit healthychildren.org/mediauseplan.