Many Millennials are parents now. Some of the younger ones are new parents, but others have teenagers by this point. Millennials now have jobs, disposable income, and families, and because of this, many corporations market toward them.
In some ways, Millennials are much like other generations, but there’s one key difference. Millennials are definitely the first generation that grew up when personal home computers were affordable and saw widespread use. Many Gen X members, the generation that came before Millennials, had home computers as well, but that number skyrocketed when Millennials hit the scene.
Because of this, the average Millennial, now an adult, is computer literate. They comprehend the home computer’s magnetizing appeal, and they know the importance of social media safety as well. That’s good news, because one of the things that most of them have to deal with is their children wanting to use social media at a very young age.
There are some positives to kids using social media, but also some distinct drawbacks and dangers. In this article, we’ll talk about those a little bit, and we’ll also discuss how Millennial parents can speak to their children about social media safety and its impact.
Just How Widespread Is Social Media Use?
The popular online tool Hootsuite recently said that social media user numbers rose by over 13% over the past year. It also mentioned that at the start of 2021, social media platforms would encompass about 4.2 billion people. This means that if you think about the planet’s population, more people are on social media in some capacity than those who are not.
That’s pretty incredible, and parents should think about it when their kids start asking about signing up for social media platforms. If a parent is not paying attention, it’s possible that a very young child might sign up for a social media account without the parent ever being aware of it. It’s true that most social media sites won’t let you sign up until you hit a particular age, but that doesn’t mean that a kid won’t figure out a way to bypass those safeguards.
What Are Some Social Media Positives?
The average Millennial parent uses social media themselves, so they know all about Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube’s allure. They also might use Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or dozens of others.
They can use social media to keep track of what their friends are doing. They can see pictures from family vacations, see what a friend or family member is into, or they can exchange memes or other content.
All of that sounds harmless enough. When people use social media that way, they can get the most out of this creation that has come to dominate and infiltrate so many parts of modern society.
What About The Negatives?
Millennial parents probably know all about social media’s fundamental problems as well and the constant need for social media safety. Some of these platforms can be conspiracy theory breeding grounds. They’re also frequently places where cyberbullying can occur.
When someone posts a picture of themselves, they are just as likely to have individuals make fun of them as they are to have people exclaim over how nice their outfit looks. Social media is also where people make intimate connections. There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but you never know when a sexual predator will try to contact your underage child online.
Talk To Your Kids About Social Media Dangers
The most critical takeaway from all of this is that Millennial parents need to keep a close eye on what their children are up to online, and they need to talk to them about social media in particular. A Millennial parent is perfectly within their rights to stop a child from using social media until they reach a certain age. Some psychiatrists and behaviorists feel like a child under the age of 13 should not use these platforms.
It’s likely that your child might want to use social media before then since they will probably know all about it by that time. Just remember, though, that as a parent, you’re the one who’s in charge of what your child does and doesn’t do online. You might not be able to completely control them every moment of the day, but you can at least do so when they are under your roof.
You can sit down with your child and tell them why you have the social media-related concerns that you do. You can talk to them about cyberbullying, which can lead to self-harm or even suicide attempts if it becomes too pervasive. You can speak to them about sexual predators who might be out there, trying to get them to send nudes or even meet them in person.
Tell Them You’re Only Trying To Protect Them
Millennial parents must get their kids to understand that when they reduce their social media activities or monitor what they’re doing, it’s not because they’re mean or they want to invade the child’s privacy. If you have a child, you should tell them that you’re only taking an interest because you’re watching out for them.
Often, when kids get into trouble with social media, it happens because the parent is not paying enough attention to them. If you have a child who comes home from school, goes into their room, locks their door, and then spends the next several hours online, you can be sure they’re doing more than their homework.
Tell your kids in no uncertain terms what you expect from them regarding social media use. Inform them that at any time, you might check their computer to see what they’ve been doing.
They probably won’t appreciate it too much now, but in the future, they will likely be glad that you took an interest. It is the kids with neglectful parents who often get into trouble with drugs, self-harm, or any of the other dangers that toxic social media use can cause.