Teens and the dangers of Social Media

It is a known fact that most teens today know about technology and the internet, better than their parents. Most teens have a Facebook page, blog or a social network through which they communicate and exchange information. Even though they may be more skilled than their parents, do they really know how to protect themselves from the information and images they receive and transmit?

Most teens communicate via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or blog. It is on social networks where many teens express themselves, and where they feel they can relate to others. They can talk about fashion, friends, school and more, but it can also be where bullying a teacher or classmate can happen. This is not the rule, especially if the parents are concerned about what they kids post.

Often, teens can send a message or a photo that they consider to be of no consequence to them and others, but whose publication can prove to be dramatic. It is useful to remind them that everyone has the right to respect and privacy and that it is necessary to ask permission of the person concerned before publishing a statement or a photograph.

It is extremely important to remember that all the comments and photos published on the internet can never be erased completely. In the near or distant future, posts may reappear at a most unfortunate time, affecting their work or private life. We must make our teenagers aware this. What they think today, will probably be different in the future. It is best for them to not regret what they are posting on social media, today.

For many teenagers, social media and blogs have replaced the diary, but they do not use it the same way a diary is commonly used. In a diary, you know that nobody can read your personal thoughts, but today when writing on social media, teenagers know that we will not only be read by their acquaintances, but also by strangers… and that changes everything. It is important to understand that one should not express themselves the same way online as in a diary. It is the job of parents to explain this to their teenagers.

Hidden behind a screen and often, under an alias, teens can be uninhibited in their way of being, and in what they can post. One can exaggerate facts, post inappropriate photos and more. Parents should know that sometimes teenagers have a Facebook (or other social account) that the parents know about and, sometimes, they also own another account under an alias, where they post much different things. This other social media account may contain information or photos of them not necessarily highlighting them in the best way. It is up to the parents to inform their teens about the dangers of the Internet without wanting to interfere in their worlds secrets. There must be some trust between parents and teens so that they feel responsible when they create social media accounts.

Creating a Facebook page or other has become the way teenagers relate to each other. Teens need to share what they feel with their peers. It is up to us parents to protect our teens by informing them of their rights and the dangers of the Internet.

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