Social Media and Children: the ominous connection!
It is important for us to realise and understand that social media has become something that an increasing number of children have exposure to, or are actively using themselves. If we work together to keep children safe, at the same time as ensuring that they are still learning about the changing world around them, we can contribute to helping them as they grow up in a world full of technology and social media.
There are risks associated with the use of and exposure to social media for children, and keeping informed about this will help us to better protect our children and ensure a safe, online space for them to learn and grow.
Cyberbullying is very common and something which can go unnoticed when a child is enduring it. Cyberbullying occurs when a person is bullied online, and it is important to note that this can be just as harmful as any other form of bullying. When we are aware that this exists and when we research more about this, it will help us to keep our children safe and be aware of the dangers of the online world.
It is important to speak to our children in general. The more we create an environment in which children feel like they can share their opinions and thoughts with us, the closer bond we will establish with them. They will be more open when speaking to us. When they do not hesitate to share what is on their minds, it will allow us to help them and better protect them. When we are not aware of what is happening in their lives, this puts them more at risk. With children who are under our care, of course we try to protect them in every part of their lives, so the online world is no exception in this.
Even with children who are not under our care (perhaps they could be the children or siblings of extended family members or family friends), we should still be alert when we come across anything online that does not seem to be quite right. Alerting people we care about, even if we are worried about what they might think of us telling them, could actually really be of help to them. In many cases they will appreciate the concern even if we at first except it to be unwelcome.
There are also benefits of social media and skills that can be learnt from the online world, when used with the correct guidance from carers, parents and guardians.
Being familiar with technology does develop children’s skillsets, which they could apply to many different fields. Many of these skills can be utilised in education or work, especially due to the heavy application of technology and software in countless industries.
May Allah protect all the children of this Ummah and the world, and may He enable us to guide them properly. Aameen.