Older people can attest to the fact that it was hard to get in touch with their friends past their curfew, or ours for the matter. Thanks to the Internet and smart phones, teenagers today have the luxury of being able to stay in touch with their peers and acquaintances at anytime of the day or night. But as parents, we should realize that that may not be such a good idea. Yes, social media does pose certain negative effects (psychologically and socially) on today's youth. Sadly, these may occur under our own roofs.
While texting may be a convenience, it is important to educate our youth about how what they send can be used against them. Most cases of bullying and sexual predation occur through text messaging. While a teenager may be raised with the important core values, he or she still might become a victim of peer pressure.
Sexting focuses on sexual and explicit pictures or messages. With access to a smart phone or the internet, your child has the capability to send or receive images and texts to virtually anyone. They could fall prey to people who will encourage them to receive or send nude or suggestive photos. To make matters worse, the predators may be older individuals posing as someone from a teenager's age group.
Bullying is a serious threat that happens every day. Remember when your school bully would threaten to punch your face for lunch money? These days, the threats do not end on the playground or the school's halls. Most netizens will attest to being a victim of verbal abuse at one time or another and dismiss it as a negative factor of being on a social media site. However, since teenagers are still in their formative stage, cyber bullying can pose a major threat to their emotional and physical wellness.
Cyber bullying may occur in many ways. Sending threatening messages, posting a humiliating comment about a person, and leaving hurtful comments on a picture are common forms of cyber bullying. The insults may be to someone they know personally or random individuals they choose. Research also shows that this form of harassment is potentially more dangerous than offline bullying. It has been linked to heightened cases of depression and anxiety in teenagers. Cyberbullying has also led to a number of suicides and suicide attempts.
Loss of Privacy
How secure is our information online? With the prevalent incidences of hacking and the creation of fake public profiles to gain friends or potential targets, our youth may not be as safe as they would like to think they are. While they may take some precautions, like keeping their profiles private, some sites encourage people to “check-in” their current locations. Doing so may pose a greater risk than we would like to imagine.
As a parent, it would be best to educate your child about the risks online before giving them a smart phone or allowing them access to the Internet. Teenagers are in a stage that requires us to allow them to blossom into responsible adults. With social networking sites available to them, we need to provide our teens with positive advice to help them transition as smoothly as possible. Sites like thefamilycompass.com――advice for troubled teens, come in handy, especially if you notice negative changes in your child's behavior.