Being Social Media Smart: Staying up to date with what your kids are doing online – PART 1

The World Wide Web has grown exponentially over the past years. According to Kids, “more than half of all North American teens visit social networking sites every day and these numbers are way up from just a few years ago”. With social media access becoming easier and easier, it appears there is little to no chance of this number ever coming down.
Social Media Part 1c
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “using social media Web sites is among the most common activity of today’s children and adolescents” and that “it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents”.  They also point out how social networking is on the rise and that the study found that 22 percent of teenagers log onto their favourite social media sites more than 10 times a day, and that 75% of teens now own cell phones.
Did you know? Some fast online facts:

  • 92% of teens go online DAILY (Socially Safe Social Media)
  • 8 to 18 year olds spend 7.5 Hours in front of a screen each day! (Socially Safe Social Media)
  • Once posted, always posted:  What you post online stays online and is completely traceable. Think before you click!
  • Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online. (Stay Safe
  • 88% of teens have seen/witnessed someone be mean or cruel to another user on a social networking site(Guard
  • The minimum age for a Facebook account is 13 years of age and yet 55% of parents of 12 year olds say that their child has an account (Guard
  • The number of sexual assault cases related to social media sites have increased by 300% (Guard

What websites and apps are considered ‘social media’? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “any web site that allows social interaction (between users) is considered a social media site, including sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs” and more. As a parent, how can we keep up with the constantly evolving and ever-increasing online world?
Social Media Part 1d
With the online world growing bigger every day, how can we keep our kids safe?
New apps and social media sites are popping up almost daily. How can parents keep up with this evolving tide of online interaction? How can we make online participation safe for our kids? Beyond the Classroom wanted answers so we sat down with Stacy Maynard, a mother of 2 boys and social media guru/entrepreneur.  Stacy has a passion for helping children understand how to use social media safely and frequently talks at local schools and PTA meetings. Her website, Socially Safe Social Media helps parents, schools and local communities enjoy social media in a fun, yet safe way.  “I understand what it can be like for parents trying to navigate this (online) world” Stacy admits. “It changes all time”.
According to Stacy, “social media is fun. We actually go into schools and tell them to be in social media”.
The problem is, Stacy admits, kids today want to be everywhere. The expectation for kids is that they are on social media and present online. How can we make sure they are using it in a way they are staying out of danger? The bottom line is that social media is only going to get bigger. How can we make sure they are using social media in a way that doesn’t put them in danger?
In our next blog post, Stacy Maynard highlights the issues about social media that we should be talking to our kids about as well as ways to stay safe and smart online. Stay tuned!

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