Kids and Social Media
By: Catherine Sullivan
The Internet Opens Many New Doors for Kids
It can be overwhelming to be introduced to the world wide web for the first time, and managing it can be tricky. With all of the outlets that make sharing information so simple, it can be easy to accidentally share too much information or to share information with the wrong people. To protect children who use the Internet, we must teach them real-world judgement and proper online etiquette.
All Actions Have Equal and Opposite Reactions
Isaac Newton's third law of motion doesn't just apply to physics-it applies to everyday life. Its important to remind kids that their actions will always have reactions. Online profiles may not always be as protected as we wish they would be, so it is important to inform kids that they should be cautious with what they post. Many organizations allow groups like employers, colleges, officers, coaches and teachers to view profiles of interest and therefore should enforce the idea that we should be careful about what we share online. It is also crucial to inform children that once something has been posted online, it can't be taken back. Even if the post is deleted, it remains on the Internet for forever and can be accessed. We need to make sure that kids are aware of their digital footprint and the impact that their posts have on the Internet and others.
The Internet is a great way to share information quickly from one source to another. This being said, information can also be fairly easily taken. This is why kids need to be taught why they should refrain from posting things like their Social Security number, home address, phone number, and financial information. They need to understand what consequences could follow if that information got into the hands of the wrong people.
Facts About Kids & the Internet
- 5 million Facebook users are under the age of 11
- 73% of teens use social media
- 55% of teens have given out personal information to someone they don't know, including photos and physical descriptions
- 29% of teens have posted mean info, embarrassing photos or spread rumors about someone
- 29% have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don't know
- 24% have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission
Do's & Don'ts
- Use multiple passwords
- Use the Internet to communicate
- Take advantage of the tools that the Internet offers
- Post personal information online
- Talk to strangers online
- Post negative or hurtful things