When our kids log onto Facebook, it's as if we're unleashing them into a dark, desolate alleyway where cyberbullies and identity thieves virtually lurk. Just like we can't protect our children from the dangers of the world forever, we can't keep our children phones-free and off social networking sites forever. As you're battling whether or not to allow your kid to have a cell phone, Facebook page or Instagram account, you're probably weighing pros and cons. Cons are clearly evident — inappropriate and sexually explicit content, online predators, depression, threats of privacy, indiscriminate posting,and so on. Although Facebook may seem like a danger zone, exposing our kids to social media on a digital device has a great amount of pros as well:
We depend on our digital devices to function through our everyday lives, and to deprive our children from learning those basic skills can affect their social and technological growth. It's not uncommon for toddlers to easily navigate a tablet or preschoolers to know how to send text messages on cell phones from BlackBerry. Digital devices, social media and communication all go hand-in-hand. Your child has opportunities to acquire basic everyday skills by using a BlackBerry phone, for example, to edit photos on a Photo Studio app and then upload them to a social networking site for sharing. The way our world and society functions and interacts is changing. Rather than fear a digitally social evolution, embrace how it enhances our lives. Then after teaching our children how to properly use a mobile device and social media, they can grow as well.
Present-Day Social Skills
Communication with friends and family is no longer limited to making landline calls and sending handwritten letters through snail mail. We can email, text, FaceTime, BBM, Skype, post on Facebook, send a Facebook message, interact on Instagram and Vine, reply to tweets and comment on Pinterest. Social media plays a significant role in the number of ways we communicate, share information and relate to one another. If we insist upon maintaining barriers between our kids from this incredibly influential, evolving social landscape, then we're depriving them from engaging in social interactions that are naturally ingrained within our society. Less face-to-face interaction is reality, and through age-appropriate interaction on Facebook, for example, our children can receive positive reinforcement and communal recognition as well as validation and acceptance from close friends and family with whom they share similar interests.
Educational & Learning Tool
With hundreds and hundreds of mobile device apps and real-time social media updates, a cell phone and social networking sites are actually educational and learning tools. From downloading math and study buddy apps to liking Facebook pages of news outlets and public figures, digital devices and social networks can provide children with an array of dynamic information at their fingertips anywhere, anytime.