Parents letting their kids on social networking sites doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal anymore. In fact, your average kid over the age of 10 probably has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest account, among others. While there are a few advantages to letting your children have social connections via the web, there are actually more disadvantages when you pause to think about it. Here are 9 reasons not to let your kids on social networking sites for you and your spouse to consider together.
1. Stalkers and Shady Characters
The number one reason not to let your kids on social networking sites is because of stalkers and shady characters. Besides the option to receive personal messages on nearly every social platform in the cyber world, stalkers may also gain access to personal info if they hack into your child’s Facebook account. Another thing to consider is the GPS tracking that Facebook offers, especially when you “check-in” at certain locations.
2. Mature Content
There is no doubt that you won’t be able to shelter your child from mature content if you allow him or her on social networking sites. Even if your child doesn’t follow celebrities or bands who post and share mature content, other kids or adults can share things that just aren’t good for little eyes to see. Even the ads on Facebook alone nowadays can be enough to make my jaw drop!
3. Unsavory Influences
When your child is exposed to continuous status updates, photos, and YouTube videos that promote things that go against what you are trying to teach at home, how much influence do you think you will have in your child’s life? Peer pressure is a strong thing, and with social media comes a very large deal of peer pressure, especially for very young children with tender minds who are still trying to find their own way in the world.
4. Wasted Time
I know how easy it can be for me as an adult to spend more time that I intended on Pinterest or YouTube at any given time! Children have almost no concept of time, and may spend hours browsing and surfing the web. This is something that each parent can view as a problem or something that makes no difference on his or her own. Just be aware of this possibility!
5. Distraction from Important Things
Homework will normally get pushed to the side in favor of scrolling Twitter if a child is given the option. Many kids nowadays even sneak phones into their classrooms and goof around instead of paying attention. Friends and family may also get brushed off at get-togethers and parties if a child is absorbed in answering Facebook messages or pinning to Pinterest.
Do you know about the COPPA law? The Children’s Online Privacy Protect Act basically protects a kid’s personal info and keeps it off the web. That’s why every site asks you to verify that you are over 18. If you allow your child to have a social networking site when they are underage, that law can no longer protect your child since your child’s personal information has been authorized to float around on unsecured websites.
7. Opportunities to Badmouth Parents
I know many young kids on Twitter and Facebook who post and comment things about their parents. Of course young children will always have reasons to vent, but do you really want your child saying bad things about you and your style of parenting on the web? In the worst cases, Child Protective Services have been involved due to lies and exaggerations by angry children.
8. Easy Target for Bullying
Facebook presents a huge target for bullying. If you don’t want your child exposed to bullies, or watching others be bullied, avoid letting them on social networking sites! Kids can be harsh these days.
9. Reduced Options to Have Hands-on Fun
When I was a kid, we didn’t have all the social sites that are available now! Let your kid be a kid. Childhood is over in the wink of an eye, so encourage your child to enjoy it while it lasts. Facebook will still be there when your child isn’t a child anymore!
I’m sure that each parent does what they feel is best for their child! And if you and your children have come to terms of agreement that allow for your child to use social networking sites, please share your secrets! These are just a few of the worries and concerns that parents can watch for and be aware of if you do decide to allow your children on social networking sites!