The Dark Side Of Kids On Social Media

Image Credit: socialmediaandteenagers.wordpress.com

    This past week, I received an email from my sons’ Principal alerting parents to an incident that occurred at the school with cyber bullying that was done on Instagram by some of the older students.  He proceeded to say that the student who had engaged in the bullying would be suspended and he advised parents to be more vigilant about their children’s social media interactions.  I have to admit that I was really not surprised to receive this email.

    Not too long ago, I had a conversation with my 9 year old son where he shared with me that some of his classmates have Instagram and Facebook accounts.  Although I am active on most social media platforms and I recognize their importance with regards to networking and business, I am strongly against allowing children younger than high school age to have social media accounts.  I don’t think that most kids this age possess the maturity to disseminate through all of the positive and negative images and comments that are posted on these platforms.

    Additionally, I have seen how the children of family members and friends have posted inappropriate and explicit content on some of their social media profiles and it has completely turned me off to even considering allowing my boys to create accounts.  I believe that young people don’t fully understand the ramifications that posting these words and images can have on their life long-term.  They do not make the correlation between the fact that the videos and photos that they post can come back to haunt them at some later stage in their lives.

Image Credit: www.cbc.ca

    I’m not unrealistic and I understand that I cannot shelter my children from interacting on social media forever.  As a matter of fact, I think that it will be an important social and professional tool for them to take advantage of in the future.  However, right now, they are not ready for it and I hope to keep them away from it at least until they reach high school when I hope they will be more mature and able to make the right decisions about what they publicize about their personal lives.

    I wonder if other parents have any idea what their children are putting out there on social media.  Personally, I find myself wondering where some parents are when I see photos of adolescent girls scantily clad being shared on Facebook.  I also wonder where they are when their daughters and sons are posting videos of their peers fighting in the street or dancing provocatively.  It’s just not conceivable to me that any parent could be that oblivious to what their children are doing when they are not around.  What’s the point of crying later when something horrible happens when it could have been prevented with some supervision or perhaps an intervention of some kind?

Let’s discuss:  How old were your children when you allowed them to create social media accounts?  How do you monitor your children’s activity on these accounts?

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  • http://www.bloggerfather.com/ BloggerFather

    My kids are still very young, but I had to get my sister to have a talk with her 12yo girl about Facebook. And another 12yo girl I know posted some self-shot photos in her bedroom. It’s a confusing age, and it’s unimaginable to me to allow a young teenager to be active on social media without paying attention to anything he-she does. Either you can pay attention to everything they do, or only allow social media when they’re ready.

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Thank you for commenting. I agree with you, those parents who choose to allow their children to interact on social media should be prepared to monitor them closely. It is a big mistake not to supervise what their children are being exposed to…

  • Jennifer Kehl

    I completely agree with you! I think media in general is becoming less and less appropriate as our children are desensitized to the sexuality and brutality around them. To them it’s just “no big deal”, but in reality they are losing their innocence and creating a world with very shaky moral boundaries. I say, keep them innocent as long as you can!

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Jennifer, I love how you put it, “they are losing their innocence.” I’m know that we can’t shelter our children from everything forever but we can let them enjoy being kids while they still are…

  • Melissa Rheinlander

    My little one is just a toddler but I would have to agree with you… I don’t think I would allow her to have social media accounts until she is mature enough to handle it which I assume would be high school aged!!

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Hi, Melissa. Maturity plays a big factor in all of this. Young people are simply too inexperienced to discern between negative and positive interactions on social media in some cases. I agree with you that this maturity probably doesn’t kick in until high school.

  • slehan

    No kids. But if I had them, they wouldn’t get accounts til they were 16.

  • jamie braun

    my 12 year old has been begging me for a facebook accout for a couple years now. the answer? NO WAY! she says all of her friends have an account. my answer: then your friends parents are crazy