by BUNTE.de Redaktion 03 June 2017 at 08:35 a.m.
Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp and what they are all called – social media has become part of everyday life just as much as the crime scene on Sunday evening. However, children in particular can rarely correctly assess the effects and dangers of the new medium.
According to the renowned KIM study from 2016, 29 percent of all children between the ages of 10 and 11 already have their own smartphone. It is already 55 percent of the twelve- to thirteen-year-olds.
At first there is nothing wrong with that. The safe use of a smartphone is no gimmick, but now an important cultural technique. The Internet provides the knowledge of the whole world and delivers the latest news. Fast communication is useful and important in everyday working life. There are millions of useful apps, from navigation systems to currency converters and banking software.
And then of course there’s social media; The chat, video and image platforms are used particularly by young people and children. In itself, it is of course not that the little ones love each other on-line share with their friends. After all, we talked on the phone with the girlfriend for hours – but only with the girlfriend. Half a world is quickly watching on a social media platform and that is exactly why there is danger.
The biggest risks in the social media world
How quickly does an insult fall in the school yard? Children are impulsive. If you post the same saying on the web, you will not only get the bystanders, but dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Children are often not aware of this consequence or of the possible consequences. Because insulting is a criminal offense from the age of 14 at the latest.
Being popular is important for children and teenagers. Likes, the number of online friends, retweets, seem to turn an abstract concept into a measurable value. Failure to receive friendship requests can have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. It doesn’t understand how little online acquaintances have to do with reality.
3. Legal problems
Laws are complicated, which is why studying law takes so long. Strictly speaking, when a child posts a picture that it has taken in the school playground, it violates the personal rights of all people depicted. In most cases, this has hardly any consequences, but somewhere there is always the inhuman with legal protection insurance.
4. Danger of addiction
Like so many other things, social media can actually be addictive. Of course, permanent chatting doesn’t have the same health consequences as chain smoking, but those who type all the time don’t have time to study, exercise or the family.
Even an adult often finds it difficult to distinguish advertising mail from a real message. Children are completely overwhelmed with it. It clicks quickly where you want it better shouldn’t have done.
6. Fake news
Similar to advertising, children quickly take everything they read online at face value. They lack the media skills to classify news or to examine a source for reliability.
7. Life and limb
Fortunately, there are tragic isolated cases, but stories continue to haunt the news of children who have met a stranger whom they knew online – often with terrible consequences.
Tips for correct social media handling
Sure, the simplest solution is to simply ban your kids’ smartphone. But first, that’s pedagogically pretty weak and second, it’s pointless. Then the little ones surf on the school or library computer or on their friends’ smartphones. It is better if you stick to a few tips.
1. Be a role model
Why should your child avoid social media when you are constantly hanging on your smartphone? Sure, making an appointment in the WhatsApp group is important, but you really have to send a cat picture to your friend?
2. Be competent
You cannot explain anything to your children that you do not use or understand yourself. So before you hunt the whole Internet to hell, deal with it yourself. Check out the apps your kids are using instead of scolding for anything new.
3. Link accounts
Many social media platforms offer you the option of creating a parent account and including child accounts with limited usage options. In this way, you stay in control at least in part.
4. No photos, no real names
The best way to protect your little one from strangers is to make it clear to them that they should alienate their name on the web and should never have a photo of themselves in their profile.
5. Talk, talk and talk again
The most important tip is of course: talk to your children. Don’t just prohibit them from using the smartphone, it only makes them curious. Instead, educate them about the dangers. Explain to them that the virtual world only represents the real world, but does not replace it. Make sure that they acquire competence in dealing with the new media. Because there are all dangers outside you can’t always seal off your children. However, it is up to you that they always deal with them responsibly when they encounter them.
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