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Why Is Social Media Bad For Kids?

An article published by the Externado revealed that 24 cases of sexual harassment via the internet are reported to minors per day in Colombia and that platforms for establishing contacts with strangers are multiplying. Some measures you can take.

Why Is Social Media Bad For Kids?

1. Parents have to be connected
To guide the way in which their children function in the digital world, parents of children and adolescents have to know the tools that are available to them. The main platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter among others have parental security controls that can be used relatively simply by any digital user. Through these, you can limit children's access to malicious pages or block dangerous content. The Mantic estimates in his Easter guide for parents that "only in this way we can know what are the websites that children frequent and avoid timely visits and contact in undue portals." But for that, adults have to learn to manage the necessary computer bases to understand the digital world.

2. Use appropriate language for dialogue
In consonance, speaking the same language is a fundamental first step in establishing a clear and blunt dialogue with them. The Externado researcher, AndrĂ©s Felipe Contreras details: “they should be informed about the anonymous participation or use of pseudonyms of people who may have hidden and malicious intentions with them. That respect for the privacy, privacy and good name of third parties must prevail, and that, in any case, against any threat or possible risk detected directly by them, they will always have an adult to provide support. ”As with Sex education, clarity in dialogue with children is a fundamental step to ensure safe web browsing.

3.Establish schedules and times of use

The time that children and adolescents spend connected on their devices cannot be unlimited. It increases the risk of having dangerous contacts and "disconnects" them from reality, according to the official website of the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (Mantic). That is why the establishment of clear schedules for the use of the network is a good way to control your relationships with the virtual world and can be used to establish necessary coexistence time to create bonds of trust.

4.Minimize the number of available devices and social networks

The greater the number of devices that children have access to, the greater the risk of using them improperly for their age. Therefore, as Felipe Contreras explains. “Having a single computer in which children can consult their social network (desktop and in the child's residence for example), allows those responsible for their care, centralize the control work and facilitate monitoring of the content viewed and shared and the conversations in which the children participate. ”In addition to the creation of various platforms or dialogue messaging that escape the controls that exist in large social networks is also a risk factor that must be taken care of permanently.

5. Take care of published information

The photographs and personal data they share can be an input for potential aggressors. In theory, in attention to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), platforms such as Facebook cannot store information from people under 13, but it is easy to surround those security barriers with anonymous profiles. Therefore, Mantic recommends taking care of content that may seem innocent but that is an input for potential aggressors. On its page, it says: "Do not share images of your children in situations that can be taken out of context. Many parents share photos of their naked young children in their social networks, while they bathe them or enjoy a holiday in warm weather. Pedophiles and abusers look for photos that they can use in their image bases. ” While the Externado warns that it is better not to show your personal data (school, place of residence, age) on the network.

6.Interact with the State and educational entities that also have a responsibility

Although they are the first calls to ensure the safety of their children, parents are not alone in this task. According to the Montevideo memorandum signed in 2009 by Colombia to guarantee the protection of children on the internet, educational institutions and the State also have the obligation to participate in the generation of programs that decrease their risk. That is why parents have to establish a continuous dialogue with these institutions to generate synergy that provides comprehensive protection for their children. Thus, according to Felipe Contreras, they must “establish public programs and policies in this regard and provide information beyond what is substantial and necessary, (in addition to) strengthening the capacities of parents, on the possible risks faced by minors on the Internet."

7.Create a profile and associate it with your child's

Through their profile, parents can learn about the main activities and communications of their children without invading their space continuously. In addition, it will allow parents to also review the profile of children's friends and verify that they are real people with adequate intentions.

8. Make a list of activities not related to computer activities

According to Mantic, sharing quality time outside of social networks is a good way to create bonds of trust that facilitate the subsequent inclusion of parents in the digital world. In its portal, it states: “let's make a list of activities in which technology is not the protagonist: go to the park, ride a bike, go for a walk, play board games, among others. This is a very good option to make other types of plans and to share quality time with our children.

9. Take care of the passage of networks to reality

In the interval in which the physical and digital world is connected is when the most serious phenomena of bullying happen to children. Therefore, it should be borne in mind that in addition to monitoring children's networks, parents have to try to establish who are the people they know through digital platforms and accompany them on that path to ensure that they are really subject With proper intentions.

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