Guest Post: by KidGuard
The Dangers of Sharing Information on Social Media
As children, we rely on our guardians for everything: literally. In the past, it has always been well-known that children must be monitored at all times. With age comes freedom, but it is simply not safe to allow children to run rampant. In the 1990’s, the Internet was just becoming popular. There were only so many things that could be done on a computer. At this time, parents did not have to worry about their children gaining access to their computers because it was impossible for them to obtain any knowledge on how to use them. Aside from that, social media websites were not even created yet. With every year since then, the technology industry has come up with something new that shocks parents. In a world where a random stranger can know your age, who you associate with, where you work and live, and what you look like through just a profile: it is crucial to monitor online activity.
Profiles are never “hidden” like we believe them to be. While your settings may be set to private, there are dozens of ways to access your information that you assumed no one would have access to. It is so important that children to not have access to making these profiles because they do not know what is unsafe to post. Everything that they are currently learning in school will contradict what they are told to do online. Imagine any typical social media site. A “Sign Up” page will typically ask for your name, phone number, email address, a password, and potentially even more. Many of them ask for your gender, age, interests, etc. In a classroom setting, a student must answer their teacher. They are always told to be honest, and they are consistently reminded that they are safe. Right from the earliest years, children are taught the value of trust and safety. They are taught that they can trust their parents, teachers, police officers, and more. They know that they cannot trust strangers, but what if that “stranger” has something in common with them? The pre-teen/teen ages are the hardest when it comes to electronic activities, because they are old enough to have freedom but still have not likely experienced much danger. They are still in the stage where strangers are a threat. When they create a new profile, they are constantly reminded that their information is “safe” and “secure.” Those are words that they only can connect with positivity.
When a person has access to any social media site, they are likely to click on links that they are interested in. The picture or title might bait them in, and they will follow the link to wherever it takes them. Not only is their information then shared, but they are also led into a site that is not guaranteed to be appropriate.
If a child is using their parent’s phone, they can easily gain access to their applications and profiles that will lead them to uncensored content. Children do not have a right to this, as the profile often times mandates an age limit. Not to mention, when adolescents spend majority of their time online, they are missing out on the most important years to their development. It is so common in this day to go out to eat at a restaurant and see a baby or toddler playing a game on their parent’s phone while they converse over dinner. While it may be a distraction, it becomes a dependence. Children start to become unaware of life without electronics, and never experience true growth. While it is not only vital that guardians monitor the online activities of children, it is a necessity for their aging that they do not spend all of their time in front of a screen. They are misled by “safety” warnings, and this will only contradict their education.
The KidGuard team consists of technology experts, researchers, and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems. Our sole mission is to protect your children online bringing awareness and inspiring solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology.