Teens love socializing and pass most of their waking hours using social networking apps and making new friends online. Studies confirm that children spend around nine hours a day on social media and this is a huge amount of time they devote being online. Though the social media is a fun and quick way to connect with friends and people around the world, it is not without dangers. The unsupervised use of social media exposes children to cyberbullying, child predation, sexting, virtual peer pressure and several physical and mental health issues. This article discusses the potential dangers of social media for teenagers and what parents can do to deal with these threats.
#1. Suicidal and Violent Behavior
You might have heard about the Deadly Blue Whale game on social media. It is a suicide game in which the player is given challenges such as craving your body with a razor and jumping from a taller building and killing yourself. Many teens have lost their lives due to this suicide game. The Blue Whale and similar challenging games have become viral on social media inducing suicidal and violent behavior among teens. Unfortunately, there is not any measure taken by the social media appdevelopers in this regard.
#2. Sexting and Pornography
Sexting has become common among teens thanks to social media apps like Snapchat, Telegram and KiK. The self-destructive messages and the hidden identities have been the factors behind the prevalence of sexting and sharing of inappropriate stuff. Teens think that it is safe to share anything via these social media apps because your identity remains hidden and plus whatever you communicate get automatically deleted.
#3. Cyber Bullying
Almost 13 percent of teens reported being harassed on social media through direct threatening or aggressive messages. There are two kinds of people who become the target of cyberbullying – the popular ones and the dumb ones. The cyberbullying, in some cases, is more severe than the traditional bullying and can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide.
#4. Online Child Molesters
Online child predators take the support of social media to gather information about their target. They get to know about the liking, disliking and behavior of the target stalking their social media profiles and use that information in enticing them. Once the target gets trapped, they use him/her for sexual abuse.
#5. Illusion of Privacy
Many social media apps claim to provide privacy to its users. In actual, there is no concept of privacy on any social networking platform. Whatever you post online remains there forever. An example of it is the self-destructive messages of Snapchat. Though the messages get deleted seconds after being viewed by the receiver these can be stored and distributed with screenshots. Though you get the notification if someone tries to take a screenshot of your message it could not restrict that person from capturing it.
How to Deal With Social Media Dangers
Have frequent discussions with your teens about social media and its menaces. Aware them how online child predators lure adolescents and use them for their malicious aims. Get them learn how they can use the social media responsibly and securely. Meanwhile, monitor their social media use to be notified in case of any unpleasant situation. You can take the support of a mobile phone monitoring application to remotely monitor the social media accounts of your kids including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder, Kik, Telegram and other dangerous social networking apps and instant messengers. You can read the social media chats of your children, see their shared photos and videos, and can know about their online friends. It will help you deal with any unpleasant incident before it happening.