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It is very hard for us to avoid the influence of social media in this modern days. Anyone who has been connected to the internet should have got any social media account or at least the email account. We don't need to pay a lot to get connected to people in long distance anymore. The world becomes much smaller than it was.
The existence of social media has changed the communication styles and patterns in the society, including the smallest society, family. When fathers and mothers get busy with their social media friends, business, and application, children will ask to have one. They might see others play some interesting online games in certain social media and they want to have one. As the growth of social media gets faster and broader, there are some concerns that families need to pay attention.
- The changes are not only for communication ways, but also the distribution of information which often worrying for people. The distribution of information becomes less limited. It is more possible to be faster than the television and other internet sites. There are some positive things about that, but the threatening danger of pornography, criminality, and other provocative information can lead people into the wrong way. Can you imagine how the children might be affected by this dangerous threats?
- Although social media has been able to connect people from far away distance, they can separate people living in close distance or even people next to your seat. The intimacy of a family has been interrupted by the existence of the electronic boxes. The thinner boxes are coming to give more impact and flexibility. The social media has interrupted more massively using the portable gadgets
Is the existence of social media really that bad? There are also a lot of benefits of social media existence for many people, especially for families.
- By having account in social media, long distance can be connected together by sharing pictures, chatting, and sharing information.
- It is a great advantage of social media for families that they can learn from other cultures and current events. How different is it from the just plain websites and blogs? Some exposed news or facts have comments response from other people to filter and to give broader perspectives about the issues.
- Joining to some groups or communities in social media can give more ideas managing family home operation. There are a lot of ways to be frugal shared in the social media. Rather than searching in the browsers directly, some virtual society can give testimonials and tips in some fields related with families and education.
- Social media can also be a place to individuals to express feeling and opinion that might not be be able to to confess in the real life. Of course, it needs certain limit to prevent further negative impacts that might happen.
There are a lot of influence surrounding our children to be involved in the virtual network of social media. We might not be able to avoid this reality too long as the technology will be spread out faster undeniably. We cannot hide ourselves and children from the social media existence. There will be a time when everyone, including children to get in touch through the social media network. For homeschooling families, the problems might not as crucial as families with schooled children as homeschooling family usually have family based education which makes it possible for parents to get closer with children.
- The reality also gives challenges for parents to get to know about social media better so that parents can still handle and prevent the negative effects of social media that might turn up later on. When parents know social media better, they would be able to step ahead than their children. It might be not forever as children should be able to do more than us in the future, but it just might handle the first steps when kids start touching the virtual world.
- Parents are suggested to know the features of some social media and they might share some important things to children.
- Getting to know the privacy and security settings in social media would be able to filter your children's account from undesirable attacks better. Setting them into as tight as possible for the first time and you might tell children why.
- It is also important for a family to set a gadget rules and regulation for keeping the alive communication uninterrupted. It doesn't mean that parents should have the same portion of gadget time with their children as parents might need more time than children. Even some parents, including myself, have some work around the virtual world. The rules and regulation might include:
- The prohibition of holding gadget in any family time, except for some emergency or urgency.
- The authority of parents to handle the gadgets with certain schedule and to have all passwords/user names.
They depend on the condition of each family.
- Discussion about the social media with children here is very crucial. I assume that children who have account in the social media should be above 10 years old. Of course the ages are varied as it depends on each family policy. We cannot just give them information or forbid them doing this and that in social media case, based on my own experience. My children have better understanding by giving real case of social media. Some articles in our local newspaper and the internet are very helpful for us. For example:
- The cause and result of pornography in social media
- The result of breaking social media ethics
- How we can use social media to build up money in small scales
- The importance of keeping security conversation and status will protect social media users from criminals
- The ability to differentiate personal and public statements or status
- Having good and open relationship with children will have great benefit when they are growing up. In this case, children usually try to get information in the internet, especially the social media without thinking deeper as they feel reluctant or shy to ask their parents. Keeping them asking questions to parents will get them safe from the attack of the social media. Having friendly attitude with children dealing with warning and cautioning is much better than stiff attitude.
- It is better for parents to know their children relationship in the virtual world so that they can prevent negative influence better. Asking some relatives to watch out will also be an effective way of prevention.
The world of our children has changed a lot from our childhood. The grandparents always complain about how different the way they grew from parents. Parents will response how different they grew from their children. The existence of growing technology is one aspect that makes the difference. Therefore, the treatment of parents towards children should be different from the treatment of grandparents to parents. Different generation has different ways of life as the environment is also different. This situation is undeniable.