So­cial Media and Chil­dren

Our res­i­dent psy­chother­a­pist gives us ten tips on how to ed­u­cate your child to use sites like Face­book and In­sta­gram in a re­spon­si­ble way

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - Health - BY ROSAN OUWERKERK

Nowa­days so­cial media is in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar: in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2015 Face­book had 1.49 bil­lion monthly ac­tive users. This trend re­sults in a new chal­lenge for par­ents: how to ed­u­cate your child to use so­cial media in a sen­si­ble way? In this ar­ti­cle I will give some guide­lines. Tell your child the ba­sic rule of so­cial media: if you wouldn’t do some­thing in real life, then you should not do it in the dig­i­tal world. Cre­ate a pro­file to­gether with your child and de­cide to­gether who can see pic­tures and posts. “Just for friends” or a “pri­vate” ac­count are the safest op­tions. Ex­plain that ev­ery­thing your child posts, will be on the in­ter­net for­ever; even if he (or she) deleted it. Have a talk with your child about the pri­vacy of oth­ers; don’t share in­for­ma­tion or pic­tures of oth­ers with­out their per­mis­sion. Be crit­i­cal of con­tacts through so­cial media. Ex­plain to your child that he should only ac­cept re­li­able friend re­quests. Check ev­ery now and then the list of friends to­gether. Tell your child that he must never meet some­one they met online. Your child should al­ways talk to you about this first. Ex­plain why your child should never share per­sonal in­for­ma­tion online. It is im­por­tant he keeps phone num­ber, home ad­dress and email ad­dress hid­den on the in­ter­net. Teach as well to keep their pass­word se­cret. Make clear agree­ments on the amount of time spent us­ing so­cial media. It is not healthy if chil­dren are con­stantly ab­sorbed by so­cial media. Fol­low your child on so­cial media sites. Not only to check if your child is us­ing so­cial media wisely, but also to stay in­formed about what’s go­ing on in your child’s life. For­tu­nately most chil­dren use so­cial media in a re­spon­si­ble way and this can con­trib­ute to their so­cial de­vel­op­ment. At the stage of ado­les­cence, the in­flu­ence of so­cial media some­times gets out of con­trol. If so­cial media af­fects your child in a neg­a­tive way and if this is at the ex­pense of parental au­thor­ity, it is im­por­tant to get some pro­fes­sional help.

Rosan Ouwerkerk is a Dutch reg­is­tered psy­chother­a­pist and she runs a pri­vate prac­tice in Playa del

Car­men. If you think her help is re­quired, you can con­tact her: rosan.

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