Mila and her twin, Emma are 2-year-olds who have become popular on social media for their “natural acting” talent.
King Nahh is an 11-year-old who gives motivational speeches. He actually started at the age of 7. Now he is a popular figure – courtesy of social media.
Back in Nigeria, there was the case of a young boy who was videoed saying a slurred version of a Yoruba slang – chache. This went viral and made the boy popular. How can we even forget Emmanuela?
These are various case studies of kids who, all under 13 years of age, have used social media for good and have become popular.
If you are however already on social media, you obviously know that the platform is not all about good and glam; it has its own fair share of the good, the bad and even the ugly. So what are the pros? What are the cons? Which one outweighs the other and at what age would it be ideal to allow or permit your child on this carefree network?
This issue has been a hot discussion countless times; with a new view, emerging each time. This has led the conversation to continue to leave doubts in the mind of parents on exactly the path to tow as regards their children and the use of social media. However, one thing is almost certain- parents who already have their kids on social media, doubt whether they made the right decision- for obvious reasons- yes, the uncontrolled freedom culture of social media.
What is Social Media?
Social Media is a platform where individuals, organisation and various persons from all walks of life and region interact virtually to share varying information and perspectives on issues.
This tells that two elements define social media; people and information.
These two elements which make this platform useful also prove to be the threatening factors for children.In other words, these are the same ones you should be wary of as a parent, regardless of the age of your child.
The Age Factor
Normally, the required age range to join most social media platforms varies between 13 and 16 years of age.
These days, however, you see 2 and 3-year-olds on social media. In fact, statistics have shown that 38 % of Facebook users are under 13 years. ‘
So as a parent, aware of this information, your preteen or early teenager comes to you with a request to join social media and you begin to feel why not? What makes my kid different that he can’t join social media?
Before you take that seemingly ‘small’ decision, you need to be aware of some perspective and communicate these to your child.
For example, just as in our social and educational settings like schools and within our community we have bullies and paedophiles, the social media isn’t without its own.
If your child is not bullied or trolled or approached by paedophiles on social media, then it is only a matter of luck! So you want to warn him/her to watch out and be prepared against these sets of people:
Trolls and Bullies:
These sets of people define negativity on social media.
The trolls are the ones who insult you for every comment or post you make and for a child, such insults might be too much to handle.
The bullies are much more dangerous. In fact, they are the cause of many depressions leading to suicide cases on social media. They not only insult you- they take it further by sending mean messages or threats to the victim’s email or cell phone. Some even go ahead to hack the victim’s account in order to make them feel unsafe.
Paedophiles and sex offenders:
They are your constant likers, but the moment they start private messaging you and asking personal questions or very intimate questions, please stay clear.
It may interest you to know that:
- 29% of internet sex crime relationships were initiated on a social networking site
- Social networking site was used to initiate the relationship in half of all sex crimes against a minor
- Only 10% of parents of children aged 10 and under had frank talks about appropriate online behaviour and threats
- According to statistics (2011), in 26% of online sex crimes against minor offenders, information and/or pictures of the victim was disseminated through the victim’s personal social networking site.
This was back in 2011, what do you think that figure will be in 2017?
To be continued