Social media is not killing the youth of today.
As I scroll through my Facebook feed on a Thursday night, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the parents that ferociously share articles warning others about the dangers of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. As a teenager and an active social media user, I want to bring awareness to the encouragement of the use of social media in children.
Social media mimics the real world in a magnified fashion. My Instagram feed is constantly being flooded with postings of my peers’ accomplishments in life. My Twitter feed is constantly notifying me about funny interactions, political viewpoints, and informational announcements about my community around me. My Snapchat consists of videos of my best friend’s shenanigans, adorned with puppy dog filters, stickers, and Bitmojis.
I am constantly hearing about parents being overprotective of their child’s social media. Moms keep waving banners that chant untrue statements about social media. From my observations, most parents are concerned about strangers trying to contact their child and bullying. Here is the thing; if you bring up your child with internet safety and precautions there should be no problem. In all forms of social media, you can set your profile to private, where you can either request or deny who follows you. If your child can’t maturely and safely determine who is a safe person to allow to follow their account, they probably are not mature enough to be on social media. On apps like Snapchat, where it is more accessible for anyone to find your account, it can still be used safely. Whenever I get a notification that someone added who I do not know or am uncomfortable with, I simply block them.
Bullying, on the other hand, is a different story, and a sensitive subject. Bullying arrives in different varieties depending on the age group. Elementary students use social media to play games like rating each other or choosing who is prettier. This can be avoided multiple ways, including educating children about what is it hurtful and harmful, or just not giving children that young social media until they are able to handle it maturely.
While I am on social media a lot, I don’t post that often, mostly because I tend to be a private person when it comes to my personal life. I cut back on how much I post, because looking back at the things I posted in middle school is down right embarrassing, and I do not want to look back when I am in my twenties and think the same thing about what I have posted in high school. I have had lots of trial and error with social media. I have made some really dumb and unsafe decisions. For example, when I was in middle school and obsessed with One Direction and Ed Sheeran, I somehow got ahold of other fans who lived across the globe and I would text with them. Luckily, my mother stepped into the situation and made it clear to me that that was extremely unsafe. So, I am by no means saying I am the perfect child who has had a clean streak with social media.
Social media is the future, and there is no denying that. Business, advertising, banking, and communicating are all flourishing within media. Children should be taught how to safely use and not abuse media.