Children and social networks: what is important to take care of

Many people know that children are more receptive to various innovations than adults, and master the Internet space much faster. It is important for parents to understand that forbidding their children to use the Internet and social networks is useless, this will only cause aggression and misunderstanding in the family. It is necessary to explain to the child what exactly is dangerous on the network.

What are the risks for children?

Social networks significantly influence the development of a child’s personality. And this affects many areas. Children’s approach to friendships and personal relationships can be more complex in real life than with their virtual online friendships. With direct contact, children tend to be more clumsy in their social skills. Children addicted to social media may have problems with reading, writing, concentration and memory, have poorer fine motor skills, and reduce the creativity that comes naturally from traditional play and real-world experiences. An Internet-addicted child spends less time communicating with the family, so parents may not understand what is happening emotionally to them and may not notice depressive or anxiety symptoms. The main risk on the Internet is people who want to take advantage of children sexually or commit identity theft, as well as cyberbullying. 

Parents should also take into account that the lifestyle of a child with Internet addiction becomes sedentary, the risk of developing diseases of the cardiovascular system, weight gain and poor sleep increases. It also increases the risk of accidents, because, staring at the phone, the child does not pay attention to what surrounds him. 

Communication with a child

It is recommended to give the child access to social networks when he is already able to distinguish between what is dangerous and what is useful. This understanding develops around the age of 14-15. However, children at this age are still in the process of formation, so adult supervision is necessary. So that the child does not fall into the trap of the World Wide Web, communicating with unknown persons, it is necessary to conduct a dialogue with him. It is important to explain to him that there are sites that distribute pornography, prostitution, pedophilia, call for the use of drugs, alcohol, use aggression, violence, hatred for anyone, cruelty to animals, and also lead to suicide. 

Given the characteristics of age, tell the children about the criminal responsibility for some of these actions. It is best if you use a personal example to explain to your child why, for example, you do not use drugs, like most normal and healthy people. Talk to your child more often about how wonderful life is in its healthy manifestation and in the right communication. Explain that social networks are trying to fraudulently find out confidential information, and this, in turn, threatens parents with financial losses. Dispel a possible myth about online anonymity. In addition, tell us about the dangers of replacing live communication with peers with electronic ones, especially with communication with unknown people. Explain to your child that because of Internet addiction, the brain and muscles of the body develop worse. There are cases when 7-year-old children, who are fond of gadgets for most of their lives, noticeably lag behind their peers, demonstrating poor memory, inattention, fatigue, become physically weaker. In addition, watching scenes of violence on the screen provokes cruelty in the behavior of children of all ages. Thus, try to develop the instinct of self-preservation in the child so that he does not mindlessly wander through cyberspace in search of any entertainment. By your own example, show your child how you can spend your free time in an interesting and useful way, except for the Internet: go to a museum or theater that interests him, buy together a book or game that interests him, spend a fun weekend together with the whole family in the city or outside the city possibly abroad. Turn every weekend into a real event. It can be songs with a guitar for the whole family, cycling and skiing, dancing, karaoke, funny games, performing in your yard or the so-called home family “hangout”. Create a system of family values ​​for your child, which will be difficult for him to part with, and your sincere love and care will give him an understanding that there are many dubious temptations in the network.

   How do social networks and the Internet affect children, and what consequences does this lead to?

The misuse of social media and the internet can lead to more immature, impulsive, inattentive, and less empathetic children. This may have consequences at the level of development of the central nervous system. In the first years of education, children use various skills in exploring the world: touch, feel, distinguish smells. Experimenting with feelings helps them to fix knowledge and experience in memory, which blue screens do not allow them to do when they communicate on social networks. There is also a deterioration in sleep, as screen lighting reduces the release of melatonin, a natural hormone that activates sleep. 

Control methods

In order to control the work of the child on the network, install a certain program, block unnecessary URLs. You will know exactly which sites you have given permission to access. Put a ban on entering confidential information. Do not be negligent in choosing a provider, but find out if he is able to protect his customers from hackers. Pay close attention to who your child interacts with and meets. Respect his interests, let him invite his friends home. So you will see with whom exactly and how he communicates, what interests he has in the team. A trusting relationship with your children will give you the opportunity not only to find out with whom they communicate, but also to voice warnings for future unwanted acquaintances. Psychologists say that children and adolescents often oppose their parents in trifles, but in significant and responsible matters their opinion coincides with that of their parents.   

It is important that parents constantly monitor the websites that their children have access to, maintain constant communication and prevent possible dangers in using the Internet during a certain period. The use of electronic devices can also be locked with keys to prevent children from communicating with strangers or sharing personal information.

Draw up a contract

After a confidential conversation with your child about the dangers and “pitfalls” of the global network, invite him to conclude a written agreement on the rules and periods for using the Internet, including social networks. Consider the categorical quick refusal of the child as a whim and blackmail of the parents. Then try to explain once again that this is for the sake of his own safety and the peace of mind of his parents, that the fulfillment of sections of the contract will testify to his reasonableness and adulthood. Invite the child to draw up the contract himself, regardless of the parents, who will do the same. Then you will come together and discuss points that are similar and different. It is this action that will help parents understand how much their child is aware that the Internet is not only entertainment. Agree on the positions of the sections and draw up a single Internet use agreement in two copies: one for the child, the second for the parents, and sign both parties. Of course, when signing the contract, the presence of all family members is mandatory. The following items should be included in this agreement: use of the Internet in accordance with certain time frames for each day; a ban on the use of sites of a certain name, subject; Penalties for violation of the agreed points: for example, limiting the use of social networks for the next day or the whole week; · a ban on posting personal information: cell and home phone numbers, home address, school location, work address, parents’ phone numbers; a ban on revealing the secret of your password; · a ban on access to films, websites and photos of a sexual nature.

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