Social Networking

Is your child psychologically ready?

Media Fear

Media and social networking is new and scary to many people, but why?

  • We our selves have been influenced by media to fear media... extreme cases of cyberbullying and pedophilia are what are talked about on the news and what is posted on school hall ways
  • In reality only a small percentage of young people are at risk of being victims to this type of behavior

We need to adapt a positive attitude to the changing face of social interaction and not fear it, but learn and understand it so we can teach the next generation how to adapt and take advantage of the social networking sites that we have, in a safe and responsible way. Social network sites are a tool not a weapon.

Is your child ready to take on the social networking world?

Pros and cons for under 13 children


  • Able to connect with family members and friends easily
  • Adapting to the technologically advanced world
  • Maintain friendships and share friendly pictures with local everyday friends


  • Befriending children much older then themselves, encourages them to engage in foul language, behaviors, and attitudes that older teens are getting involved in
  • Increases time spent sitting down in front of a screen. Children that spend more then 3 hrs a day in front of screen were likely to accumulate 40% more fat then children that didn't
  • Discourages children to play and interact with other kids their own age
  • Important developmental stages discouraged - they are starting to take on greater responsibilities like chores and interacting and engaging in group activities like soccer, music lessons, and neighborhood friends, social networking sites could discourage natural development
  • Important development stages such as improved co-ordination and greater cognitive and social development. Children need to be exercising these skills while they are at this optimal stage of development and not spending time on social networking sites
  • Many at this stage of development haven't matured enough to understand the concept of the social networking world
  • Risk of developing an dependence on a social networking sites
  • Kids need to be kids and learn to interact face to face with people before taking those relationships online

At the age of only 10, 11, and 12 children are beginning to become interested in social networking sites. Some peers their own age and many older role models have these sites that allow them to do cool things on them.

Children this age aren't ready for this type of social interaction they are at a very crucial part of their development where they need to be encouraged to be creative, interact with other kids face to face and learn important motor and cognitive skills that will help shape their futures.

Getting kids to wait before they are 13 to use social networking sites is recommended, but they still need to be guided in the right direction to make decisions about appropriate use.

Communication and trust are key

Social networking is going to be part of their life forever - instead of fearing it, engage in it with them and teach them how to use it effectively.

Prepare our kids for a generation filled with media

If your child is interested in a social networking site allow them to talk to you and discuss the advantages and dangers of having a profile online. Let them know there is support and they can come to you at any time.

If your child is a victim of bullying at school then they have a statistically higher chance that they will be victims on a social networking site. Majority of the time it is the same people that are doing the harassing in offline situations.

Help your child to protect themselves online, just because they have a higher risk of bullying doesn't mean they have to miss out entirely on the new fab social networking site of their time. Teaching the child not to add anyone that appears to have bullying tendencies is important for their development. The child needs to feel safe while using the site. It is not up to the producers of the sight, but about education of the site by elders. Prevention and education is always better then confronting the bullies in the perspective and wellbeing of the child.

Some Tips and advice for encouraging your child to to use social networking sites in an appropriate way....

First time user

  • Have your computer set up in the lounge room - will allow you to monitor time spent on social networking site
  • Help them set up their social networking site, teach them how to keep their site private and what is appropriate to post
  • Allow them privacy by not invading there conversations but ask about friends they add and how they know them, encouraging them to only add people they socialize with offline
  • Have a rule about social media use on smart phones - not taking phone to bed so they are not up all night monitoring what friends are doing, this can encourage addiction and a reliance on the social networking site

It is up to you to decide if your child is mature enough to have their own web page, the longer the wait the better as they will have a firm understanding of appropriate web use and will use the networking site to keep in contact with friends and family all over the world.


Ballantyne, N., Duncalf, Z., & Daly, E. (2010). Corporate parenting in the network society. Journal Of Technology In Human Services, 28(1-2), 95-107. doi:10.1080/15228831003759612

Berk, Laura E. (2010). Development Through The Lifespan. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.