In not more than a decade, social media has emerged as an integral part of our lives. Today, a day without social media is like fish without water. Its impact is so humongous that it became a big part of our social and creative lives. Social media has rapidly evolved as a powerful platform for kids for communicating with each other, having fun, expressing their views, sharing interests, maintaining friendships, and sharing the content of every genre. Undoubtedly, social media is a double-edged sword. Besides offering plenty of benefits, it can negatively influence many kids. Highlighting this topic, the Metamorphosis School of Entrepreneurship organized a webisode that falls under their iconic webisode series.
The interesting session featured renowned industry leaders like Mr Rahat Achanta, Founder, Fruitoholic, Ms Binaifer Dulani, Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney, Mr Krittik Vemuri, Founder- Petter, and Mr Devang Mehta, Partner at Anthill ventures. The session talked about the prominent role of social media as well as its good and bad impacts on kids.
Social Media at its Prime
While people attempt to be more expressive in popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc., other sites like Linkedin, Google Suite, blogging sites are inherently collaborative. Many people have been using sites like Google Suite since the COVID-19 lockdown began. Doing homework together, sharing assignments, being collaborative with friends and colleagues are some of the biggest benefits of social media in the pandemic-driven era. High school kids prefer Linkedin to get updates from renowned world leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris besides using social media to keep abreast of current events. It is a noteworthy fact that the overuse of the expressive platforms leads to cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, leakage of personal information to strangers etc. In times of uncertainty, blogging sites are a good place and a pleasant way to express thoughts on various issues. It lets other peers and friends to read and comment on the thoughts shared to them.
Accessibility and availability of social media in the millennial times
Both the physical and the virtual world have sort of merged in the world we inhabit today. The kids’ community is born with access to the internet at present. The technology with which they have been born with is way bigger than how the 90’s kids grew up with. Today’s kids are much more aware, smarter, and are always two steps ahead of their parents. To extract positive impacts from social media, kids have to be made prepared with strategies, potential threats like cyber bullying, trust and security, and the ways they need to manifest themselves on social media.
The session further witnessed a collaborative viewpoint by all the experts highlighting that in the 21st century; social media can be both a tool and a weapon. When kids and parents aren’t aware of privacies and other potential threats, social media can be truly dangerous. Clear addiction and excessive screen time to more expressive social media sites where the activities naturally lend itself to hatred and jealousy should not exist in a kid’s life. If one is aware of what is shared and to whom it is being shared, they can prevent the content from getting into the wrong hands.
Parenting the child’s social media usage
If kids are restricted to using social media by their parents, they try to access from either incognito mode or their friend’s smartphones. Instead, parents should have a healthy conversation with their kids. By preparing them for social media, security, potential risks, ethics, and the way they should treat each other, the younger generation can create a great balance. Kids have varied interests too in terms of content depending upon personal interests according to age groups.
The interesting session summed up by indicating how social media can be dangerous if it comes in the way of everyday functioning including real-time conversations. Serious interventions are required in such situations to make the kids get back into the track. Virtual and physical is now a part of their daily routine and the way they toggle the two becomes significant. If kids are well-informed about each aspect of social media, parents need not monitor what content their kids are sharing. Therefore, the overall effect of social media on kids is positive as its advantages outweigh the dangers.