We all are familiar with the positive aspects of social networking sites. The ability to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as make new friends or build-out a job network: clearly, social networks have some big pluses. However, given all of the outstanding benefits, we often gloss over the dangers of social networking sites. And the drawback to this of course is for kids being ill prepared to handle potentially haphazard scenarios properly.
The atmosphere on campus has always been the same. The offhand remark on the playground, the overheard gossip at the locker, or the intercepted note passed in class that hurt someone’s feelings. Kids and adults alike share “gossip” as a way to strengthen social bonds. Prior to the digital age, this was just “one of those things” everyone deals with while living in a community. However, meet “dangers of social networking sites” public enemy #1: invasion of personal privacy online. Human beings’ propensity to gossip creates some major etiquette challenges on social networking sites. Not only is your teen liable to share intimate details about their personal lives - their friends and acquaintances can share the same. Unfortunately, once personal information such as their name, school, personal interests, age, dating status, etc - can now be posted by others onto a public “wall” for the world to see. Not to mention playground gossip (“Jamie put out for Steven!” or, “Did you hear Heather’s parents are taking her to Hawaii on Sunday? Lucky!”)... And once the information is posted, it’s likely up there for good. That’s why many parents are turning to social network monitoring.
Teenagers make mistakes, it’s part of growing up. In the past, mistakes weren’t recorded on a GoPro camera and posted to online, tweeted or posted to a status page “in-the-moment” as events happened, or bragged about on the myriad of social networking sites for law enforcement to see and used as evidence against your child. Underage drinking, being at a party where criminal activities are occurring, skipping school and in a neighborhood when a robbery takes place, underage drinking or driving under the influence… Teens today will make mistakes - just as teens have always made mistakes - but for the first time, their mistakes may be preserved online forever.
Future job opportunities
It’s safe to presume that every bit of information posted by your child or a friend online will be viewed by potential college admissions, hiring managers, or supervisors. In fact, most hiring managers with access to a prospective employee’s Facebook page will review their history and let it be a determining factor in whether to hire or not hire the applicant. With social networking sites, we really must be on our best behavior at all times - even at a friend’s birthday party, when we had a bit too much to drink - for the very risk that a future employer may judge our behavior as a determining factor whether we are responsible or qualified enough for a job.
From eye strain and poor posture, to weight gain and poor circulation; social networking sites do not encourage physical activity. Teens who feel they must constantly update their status page, or check-in throughout the day to see what their friends are up to encourages a lack of movement and causes potential hazards to one’s health.
For even deeper insight into the issue check out our article on child safety tips for social network monitoring (you won’t believe it’s something you can actually do together!).
The dangers of social networking sites are many. While there are advantages, social networking sites open up a Pandora’s box of concerns. Personal information published on networking sites allows predators and cyberbullies easy-access. The occasional teenage misstep can open up your child to potential legal action. Behavior that may be acceptable at a party can prove detrimental if seen by a prospective employer. And finally, the sheer toll on health.
Social networks are something to embrace, while also respecting the potential pitfalls. To curb the dangers of social networking sites, it takes a great deal of maturity on the part of your teen - as well as social network monitoring software that can minimize what kind of information is posted online: for this Familoop can help – sign up for Familoop - Parental Control trial to monitor your children online effectively and succeed in parenting.