Needless to say that the modern society has undergone life and game-changing shifts due to social media. The experts and scientists are learning this powerful phenomenon for its influence on different social categories. mSpy blogger decided to ask a Doctor of Science in Education Alex Korman on how social media affect the most vulnerable category of the society – kids.
– Why is social media use the N1 issue for parents? Is its influence exaggerated?
Well, let’s say that social media are a second home for kids. However, this home is free from rules, restrictions, etc. This is the place where you can be whoever you want to be, you may speak up, stand out for things you believe in, spread the word without taking any responsibility for the said, commented, liked, posted, etc.
From one point of view, it seems like a paradise for kids. From the other one, it literally builds up their personality. And so this is the issue to pay attention to.
– What reaction should parents have in order not to lose their kids’ trust?
First of all, parents need to realize that they cannot blame their kids for being different, for wanting and striving for the things parents don’t. It’s ok being a different generation. But it’s up to parents to smooth the generation gap, bringing understanding, care, and wisdom.
– Is there something good from social media?
Oh, yes! Kids do not have or, at least, less have an inner communicative barrier, which means they aren’t afraid of getting in touch, communicating, asking for the service or an aid. They are brave and open to get the information they need. They are less judgmental and narrow-minded. These traits, if directed in a right way, may bring positive outcomes. However, there is a side effect.
– What’s the side effect?
As I’ve previously said, the freedom of self-expression in social media almost has no boundaries. Kids may say, post, comment what they want to without having in mind the understanding that this can affect, call to action, impress, or discourage somebody. I call it “the lack of personal responsibility”. Besides, there is the danger of so-called “self-control release”. Kids simply don’t have to control themselves in words, emotions, feelings. Since they spend too much time there, it forms the habit. The habit, in its turn, is also what they do offline, the way they interact with people and with the whole world. That’s where the problem may occur.
Moreover, the info they face is not checked, censored or filtered, which means that kids are exposed to the info that can literally hurt them.
– Does it influence their intellectual development?
Yes, it does. See, kids mostly perceive the info from social media as something to believe in and trust. They do not mostly check, question, and make a research. As a result, they have no skills of critical and analytical reasoning, the ability to compare and find the truth.
– You said that the kids were bolder in their self-expression. Does it help networking which can be used for educational purposes?
It does help in networking, for sure. The question is what kind of people they meet and how it affects their personality. I have to admit that social media is a huge carrier of different complexes, whether it’s fear, inferiority, unacceptance, etc. There’s no filter or stopper for these things. So this kind of interacting with other people may become unhealthy for the kid’s personality.
– What should parents do?
I would say, first of all, to be aware of the pitfalls social media have. And then they need to know their kids’ behavior online. They need to know how exactly their kid individually uses social media.
Parents need to examine and get sort of insights about their kids. Of course, first, it’s all about communication. You talk in order to understand the kids’ position in social media, their purpose being there. But it’s not enough. As a parent of 3 teens, I have to admit that teens have secrets. And it’s ok. This is where you, as a parent, need help. And this is where a parental control app comes in handy.
– Why do you think a parental control app can help parents to get to know their kids better?
For me, it’s obvious. You follow your kids’ personal online life without annoying them. The aim is not to spy but to be aware of their life to protect them. And when the horrible situation comes, you may intervene, or, which is better, prevent it. For example, you see somebody’s too much pushy with your kid. You can exert some regularities from such behavior. And then you get together and discuss the issues which may hurt your kid. So the app helps to prevent from different unhealthy things which occur on the Internet and boost relationships of trust and sharing.
About Dr. Alex Korman
Ph.D. of Education Science; professor at Lublin University, Family Pedagogy Department; Professor and International Ambassador at W. Shakespeare University in Bangladesh; founder of “Fatherhood school” and “Crisis Center”; United Nations Global for Compact partner; advocates for family values and kids’ rights.