Archive Racism on Social Media: A Crucial Talk Every Parent Must Have
Racism on Social Media: A Crucial Talk Every Parent Must Have

Help Children Avoid and Navigate Racism on Social Media 



Table of contents:

    In the vast digital landscape of social media, children and young people inevitably encounter harmful content, including instances of racism. Racist attitudes and behaviors on these platforms are a prevalent issue, making it crucial for parents to guide their children on identifying, comprehending, and navigating racism online. This article will explore the nature of racism and its manifestation on social media. It will also provide practical advice for parents to help their children avoid and respond to such instances effectively.

    Research indicates that instances of racism on social media can significantly impact children’s mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, parents like you must take proactive steps to educate their children about the issue and equip them with the necessary tools to combat it.


    Understanding Racism

    Racism includes behaviors and attitudes that discriminate, harass, victimize, or devalue individuals based on race or ethnicity. It can take various forms, such as overt racism, characterized by explicit racist remarks and threats, and covert racism, which involves subtle comments or ‘microaggressions’ that devalue people based on their race.

    You can find examples of racism all over the internet, especially on platforms that allow users to interact with each other. Although social media robots and human moderators put an effort to prevent or remove these offensive remarks, you can still find tons of them in comments under posts, chatrooms, and private messages.


    An illustration showing fingers pointing out of multiple phone screens at a teenage girl in the middle crying


    The Dangers of Racism on Social Media for Children

    The prevalence of racism on social media has profound implications for children and teenagers. They can either be perpetrators, victims, or witnesses of racism online. The damaging effects of experiencing or witnessing such incidents can lead to feelings of isolation, decreased self-esteem, and even mental health issues. Additionally, young people may inadvertently adopt racist attitudes and behaviors if they are not guided in interpreting and responding to these instances.


    Initiating Conversations about Racism

    Parents play a crucial role in helping their children understand and navigate the issue of racism. It is essential to initiate open and age-appropriate conversations about racism and the harmful impact it can have. Discussions should be formed by first asking children about their understanding and feelings about the issue.


    Preschool-Aged Children

    At this tender age, children start noticing differences among people. You should focus on acknowledging these differences positively, promoting the concept of fairness, and teaching your child to appreciate diversity.


    Elementary School-Aged Children

    Children in this age bracket can grasp more complex concepts. You should continue the conversation by discussing real-world instances of racism, teaching empathy, and explaining the importance of treating everyone with respect.


    Middle and High School-aged Children

    At this age, children can understand abstract concepts and have their own opinions. You should encourage open discussions about racism on social media, promote critical thinking, and guide them on responding appropriately to instances of racism.


    Teaching Children to Recognize Racism on Social Media

    Helping children identify instances of racism on social media is a crucial step in combating it. You should explain that offensive comments, jokes, images, or videos targeting someone’s race or ethnicity are forms of racism. You should also discuss the harmful impact of such content and discourage their sharing or endorsement.


    Promoting Empathy and Inclusivity

    Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity can help children develop empathy and counteract the negative influence of racism. You can introduce your child to diverse cultures and perspectives through books, films, and personal interactions.


    An illustration of two hands of different colors forming a heart shape over a background of “No Racism”


    Media Literacy and Critical Thinking

    Media literacy and critical thinking skills are essential for young people in the digital age. You should guide your child on how to critically evaluate the content they encounter on social media, discerning fact from opinion and recognizing biased or misleading information.

    Teach your child to check these items when seeing any news on social media:

    • Check Author’s Credentials
    • Always Consult Other Sources
    • Check the Authenticity of the Source of the Information
    • Check the Links
    • Check the Authenticity of Photos


    Reporting and Responding to Racism on Social Media

    Teaching children how to report instances of racism on social media platforms is essential. You should also discuss the importance of standing up against racism, either by voicing their disapproval or supporting those who are targeted.

    Show your child the different steps they need to take to report racist comments, posts, messages, or harassment in any other form on every social media platform they use.


    Setting Healthy Boundaries for Social Media Use

    You should set healthy boundaries for your child’s social media use to protect them from harmful content. This might involve setting time limits, monitoring their online activities, and discussing appropriate online behavior. One of the tools that can help you out in setting boundaries for your child’s online activity are parental control apps.


    Using Parental Control Apps to Manage Online Access

    Parental control apps like Safes can be an effective tool in managing children’s access to social media, allowing parents to monitor their online activities, set boundaries, and protect them from harmful content such as instances of racism.


    With Safes, you can monitor your child’s activity on popular social media and messaging apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Safes will notify you if your child comes across offensive content, comments, or messages so that you can prevent harm. Moreover, you can use features such as app blocking, the web filter, and safe search to protect your child from being exposed to inappropriate content everywhere on the internet.


    Feel free to download Safes from App Store or Google Play. To learn how to put parental controls on different platforms and devices using Safes, follow the links below:


    Leading by Example

    Parents are role models for their children. Children learn how to treat people by scanning the behaviors of people around them. You, fathers and mothers, are the closest people to your children. Unfortunately, sometimes racism becomes so commonplace that we even fail to notice it in ourselves. So, challenge your behaviors and words regarding people from different communities. Do you sense you have a biased opinion regarding a particular minority? Start by changing yourself and setting yourself as an example for your child.

    By demonstrating respect for diversity, challenging racism, and promoting kindness and empathy, you can set a powerful example for your child to follow.


    Resources for Further Education and Support

    You can turn to various resources for further education and support on the issue of racism. Some of these resources include books, websites, and organizations dedicated to promoting racial equality and combating racism.

    These articles can be a good start:


    Conclusion: Social Media and Racism

    Navigating the issue of racism on social media is a challenging but necessary task for parents. By initiating open conversations, teaching children to recognize and respond to racism, and setting healthy boundaries for social media use, parents can help their children navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.

    Remember, it’s not a one-time conversation but an ongoing dialogue that evolves as your child grows. With patience, understanding, and the right resources, parents can equip their children with the skills and knowledge they need to combat racism on social media and promote a more inclusive and respectful online environment.



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