Most kids will tell you that they live on their social media because this is the way they all connect with each other. They are defiantly loyal to the social media platforms they are using which are generally related to the cohort of friends that they hang with. Of course they often change apps when new platforms come out that offer them more options that resonate with that age group. Think of SnapChat and the amount of filters and options to track down friends online with Snapmaps; these are just a couple of the reasons why teens flock to these apps. But we must consider the question: what are the consequences of social media?
Social Media Isn’t Without Risk
At Owatonna High School in Minnesota, students escalated into a fight after social media posts created a racial divide among students. Fox9 reported that these posts, which are being investigated, would mean that all involved students will be questioned and their social media reviewed. Think through for a moment the opportunities lost for these students. Think about the ten Harvard students that had their admissions rescinded in the wake of their inappropriate racial meme posts. The mindless and impulsive act of a young person without any thought to long-term consequences of social media has and will continue to cause damage to their reputation and their ability to recover.
The Torment Of Social Media Posts
Another recent circumstance that appears to have been a combination of social media and mental health issues, was the tragic case of Hailey Nailor who posted on Snapchat just prior to ending her life about whether she should go through with it. According to reports, there were peers that had, in fact, encouraged her without regard to her mental well-being. Her father spoke to reporters and stated that his daughter had long struggled with mental health, which would make Hailey one of the many that may have been more vulnerable to the torment of social media posts. In what world have we ever encouraged or raised our young people to grow up and attack one another, threaten each other, or encourage others to harm themselves? How has it so quickly escalated into a world where what we post has no regard to what we would say in person? Why aren’t we all thinking deeply into the lasting consequences of social media?
Monitoring Companies Shutting Parents Out Makes Kids Vulnerable!
I am often asked about whether social media platforms their kids are on are, “ok.” It is always a struggle to honestly respond to a general question without knowing the child, the history and the parent’s ability to monitor. Social media platforms that kids want to be on are about as ever changing as the mattress stores that rotate in and out of business. When the monitoring companies figure out a way to provide parents access and oversight they rebrand and change backdoor programming and parents are yet again shut out. What kids think is their right to privacy should more accurately be described as a parental right and duty to ensure they are ok. It is vital to have these conversations about the deep consequences of social media and overuse of technology. Each child is special and unique, but they are also vulnerable and naïve. It is up to us to use our knowledge and power to protect them. As an expert and mother in this same position as all of you, I have chosen that social media has no place in the lives of my children.
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