In 2016, the World Economic Forum estimated that by 2018, 2.44 billion people will be using social media. But just halfway through the current year, 3.03 billion people worldwide have already been reported to be on different social networks.That’s nearly half the world’s population, and the number keeps growing every day, and every year.
What has social media really brought to the world that got people, young and old, male and female, hooked on using it? How has it changed our way of life?
The social media platform has magnified the sense of awareness in people, making every bit of information, big or small, easier and faster to digest and able to be accessed by anyone, anytime and via different channels. Communication is now rapidly channeled through different social networks, reaching a massive audience around the globe. With just a post of a status on Facebook, a simple one-liner on Twitter or a picture on Instagram, people are easily made aware of the latest events in the community or someone’s recent activity. Social media has become an invaluable tool for people who want to tell a story, express emotions (even by not saying a word but by just posting emojis) and opinions. More so, social media has become an integral part of business, and has even created a whole new category for fame and glamour. But a coin has two sides – one being different from the other – and so does social media.
At some critical point, social media has taken over our lives. Some people portray roles of who or how they would want to be known to others through posts, pictures and videos, hoping to go viral online, which takes them to a whole new standard of happiness and satisfaction. But what is most alarming is how social media has become a discreet tool for cyber crimes like theft, abuse and fraud, which could easily affect the most vulnerable members of the society – the children.
In such cases, parenting skills may be challenged, so mom and dad must be on guard and should take preventive actions before social media steals their kids away from them.
Parents should limit their children’s, especially toddlers and preschoolers, use of smartphones and other gadgets by getting them engaged with outdoor activities like playing in the backyard, waking the dogs, geocaching, swimming, skating or biking. Toddler bikes, skates and even simple childish games like and hide and seek are the best tools to sway children’s attention from the abusive impact of social media.
Set a schedule for internet use and limit the types of website they can access. Allow the kids to use the internet only during weekends and holidays. However, if some school homework and projects require research, check first if they can find this information from textbooks before giving them the go signal to utilize the web. There are schools or teachers who require students to use tablets instead of reference books. This is fine, as long as the gadget contains only necessary educational materials required by the academy.
Lastly, but most importantly, never let anyone bring a phone or a gadget to the dinner table.