Social media has spread like a wild fire amongst the masses! The growth of social networks in the past 5 years has been phenomenal. Our new generation is growing on this technological revolution and parents need to be one step ahead of their children in understanding the online social platforms. Gone are the days when parents snuck into their children’s rooms and read their diaries and scrapbooks to keep a check on them. This is the era of digital revolution and this is what you can do to match pace with your kids and stay updated online.

What is social media?

It’s not just Facebook! Social media is the collective to address the number of online portals used for social communications on the internet. The major social networking websites are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and many more. This online medium has been popularized for the connectivity it provides to users and an easy access various functionalities like photos and video sharing, blog postings, polls, chat with friends, etc. The evolution of social media has led to creation of internet slangs which are abbreviations of words that are a hit amongst the younger generation.

Why is social media important?

Social media has grown to be an important part of your kid’s life and they spend a lot of time on it. According to a study by Pew Internet & American Life Project in association with Harvard’s Berkman Center, out of the 95% teens that use the internet, around 81% use social media. Most of these teens logging on to social media sites are friends with many people who have a strong chance of influencing them. A recent study by Thomas W Valente from University of Southern California and team has concluded that teens who are exposed to photographs of friends drinking and smoking are at an elevated risk of doing it themselves. Such is the impact of social media that parents cannot ignore it as a mere internet bubble which will burst sooner or later.

How can I keep a check on my child’s online activities?

You can monitor your child’s online activities by being their online friends and regularly visiting their profiles for harmful content. Moms need to be extra careful and one step ahead of their children in order to remain unnoticed on the online social platform. Most teens have admitted to alter their online behaviour after the knowledge of their parent’s presence on the same platform.

Is a software available to keep a check on my child?

Yes, there is! There are a number of softwares specially designed by various organisations to help parents in regulating their children’s online presence. Amongst the most popular software for parental control are Avira Social Network Protection, Qustodio and InternetSafety. These parental control softwares allow you to monitor what your kids are posting online and what content they are being exposed to. With these softwares in place, you don’t even need to friend your children on social networking sites which would help in the discretion. If your child’s age is inappropriate for socialising online, you could block social media websites with the help of these softwares till a certain time period.

Is social media bad?

Yes and no, the answer to this question is subjective. Social media is just a reflection of our real world on the digital platform. There are just as many chances of your kid getting bullied in real life as on the internet. In fact social media is an innovative and fun way to socialise and share with friends. Under your guidance and protection social media could be a fun experience for your children.

Technology has changed the rules of parenting and those who will follow the rigid ways of traditional parenting won’t be able to help their children in becoming mature digital citizens.

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