In this post, I want to explore the ups and down, ins and outs of social media and the habits of the younger generation.
A few years ago, I suggested Facebook Lite for kids, an idea which would maybe help parents let their children onto the social networking site but have some parental guidance in place. Top bloggers like Crystal Jigsaw have also pondered the issue of social media for children and opened up an interesting debate. When we have such great examples of children blogging like Martha Payne and her Never Seconds blog, I often think that holding children back is the wrong answer.
Last week, Simon Milner, a policy director for Facebook, said there was no mechanism in place to stop children signing up to Facebook, and we can ascertain from this, it’s quite likely other social networks are in the same boat. Which leaves the onus fairly and perhaps not so squarely of the parents, many of whom are not digitally savvy.
What does that leave parents? I for one will not deny that my daughter has gone made for Facebook, signed up to Twitter to follow her favourite band and has very quickly learned how to use sites like Instagram. It’s no bad thing, but it’s time consuming, and potentially putting other essential things at risk; family time, homework and sleep. So where do you draw the line and where should it start?
For starters, do you know if your kids are using social network sites and if so, is it something they do all the time?
Hands up if your kid is obsessed with any of the following…
- tablet (ie iPad)?
- computer or laptop?
If your children are anything from the age of 10 upwards, or perhaps even younger, I’m guessing you got at least three out of six. If not, be warned…you’re about to experience the phenomenon of crazed-social-t/weenager. As a blogger and social media expert, I’m well aware of the highs and lows of using social media to stay in touch and converse with my own community, but I’m not sure how I would have managed to handle it as a child. It’s a completely new way for kids to stay in constant contact with each other (and mostly covertly).
I’m having a lot conversations with other parents at the moment are dominated by the exasperated phrase…
‘It’s constant phone use that’s driving me mad – tap-tap-tap-tap- tap!’
So what’s to be done about it all? Do you have the perfect answer to all of this, does any of us?
It’s a difficult path we tread these days, especially since social networks like Facebook don’t have any policies in place. Even though the official sign up ages for Twitter and Facebook are 13 – thousands, if not millions of children are using them. What I’d really like to know, is how other parents are facing this and what measures you’ve put in place. Are you banning your kids, managing their time or letting them explore and find out for themselves?
Please leave a comment below and let me know. I’ll pull together a summary post in a couple of weeks.