Tonight I attended a social media forum for a volunteer organization I’m involved with (I know, you’re thinking – “Why would a social media expert like myself go to a social media forum?” – because you can always learn more…write that down). Anyway, at the forum, one of the ladies asked a question about how she had read that social media was hurting children because they weren’t learning how to speak to people face-to-face.
Ok, I see her point – barely, however, I believe that this same thing was said about TV, the telephone, cell phones, the internet...I could go on and on. I understand that this creates a new problem for parents. Not only do they have to monitor their children’s cell phones and internet activity, they now have to monitor social media posts and interactions.
But I disagree. I think that social media may actually be a great way for ‘tweens (read: ages 10 to 12) to engage in conversation with others, learn more about the world and other cultures, and overall, learn how to interact with their peers. For instance, one of the main rules of social media is to be interested as well as be interesting. That means that to engage with others, they must be interested in what the other is saying, or ask questions about that person.
Another point is that social media allows ‘tweens to see people’s personalities instead of just their looks. Ultimately it gives them a real idea of what a real person is, the individual personalities, and not just what a person wears.
Parents should embrace the capabilities of social media (just as they did with the internet, the cell phone, etc.) and find a way to teach their child how to be careful with social media, but also use it for the benefits and learning opportunities it can create.
Social media brings us a way to break out of our shells and learn how to interact with others gradually instead of throwing a shy, socially-awkward teenager into a crowded room of people. Honestly I think that social media may help more ‘tweens learn how to become self confident and sure of themselves.
What do you think? Is social media something that should be blocked from the younger generation? Or embraced?