Social media has sure made life simple. People of different ages use them for a variety of purposes, such as entertainment, interacting with new people, and connecting with their loved ones. Students are one of the groups that frequently make use of social media platforms. As a vulnerable age group, students face many threats throughout their use of social media. We will discuss below why students who use social media are more at risk of harm, the threats they are faced with, and the effects these threats have on their social and academic performance. Moreover, we will also list a number of social media safety tips for students that will help your kids live in a safe space.
Why Are Students Exposed to Risks Online?
The educational system has shifted from paper-based to internet-based in recent years. Nowadays, more and more classes are being held online and more friend (classmate) groups are created on social media platforms. Internet popularity has attracted students to social media in order to connect with friends and to pass time. According to a Pew Research Center’s survey conducted in 2022, YouTube and TikTok are regularly used by 95% and 67% of teens (ages 13 to 17) in the United States, respectively. So, what is it that exposes students to social media risks?
They Trust Easy
We all remember what it is like to be 15 and wet behind the ears. It is quite easy for a teenager to believe everything that they read or hear on the net. Being anonymous doesn’t help this situation either. Moreover, academic challenges such as difficulties on a subject or promises of doing boring homework for them make it easier for predators to approach and deceive them.
They Like to Be at the Center of Attention
Teens like it when others notice them. They like to have the coolest bike or the latest iPhone on the market. This gets even more important to them when they are among their peers. That’s why they tend to boast and sometimes give too much unnecessary information, making them easy targets for cyber threats.
They Lose Focus Fast
Teenagers are a pool of hormones and emotions. That’s why it’s hard for them to focus and why the famous phrase “are you listening?” is so often repeated by teachers. In fact, adolescents’ attention span has dropped 4 seconds, reaching 8 by 2016. Negligence may put them at risk of harm through social media.
Social Media Risks for Students
Here is a list of some of the most important social media risks for students:
Bullying is not new among students. The rivalry between adolescents and their need to hold the power makes them resort to violence over the ones that seem weaker. Before the digital age, bullying was limited to school. With the onset of the internet and smart devices, it has been extended to students’ after-school, prolonging the nightmare. Also, having a crowd to watch constantly might make the experience even harder for the bullied kid.
Just like any other attractive subject, it is pretty easy to get addicted to social media. Having to follow an organized schedule, students need to get up on time and attend classes almost every day. So, they can’t afford to stay up late every night and missing classes on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on their health and performance, which will be briefly discussed in the next part.
“Sleep is the best medicine’’. There is a reason for that saying. Enough sleep can help memory, boost the immune system, and help the brain function better. Poor sleeping schedule can have negative impacts on academic performance, leading to low grades and failing exams.
Social Media Safety Tips for Students
This is what you can do to keep your child safe online:
Disable Location and Tracking
Many social media applications track your location. While it is necessary for this feature to be activated in some applications such as maps, it is wise to turn it off on your kid’s social media to keep them from unwanted location tracking.
Talk to Them About Safety
It might sound simplistic, but it’s actually one of the most effective approaches when you need to discuss an important matter with a teenager. They do listen and they do understand; but only if you know the proper ways to communicate with them. Try teaching them the responsible way to use social media and how such behavior can save them from online harm. Find out about ways to help kids deal with cyberbullying.
Use Parental Control Apps
It can be quite hard to be wary of every single threat that could endanger your child’s safety on the internet. Having a full-time job, one or several kids (which is itself a full-time job), a not-so-perfect social life, and a need to sleep that hasn’t been satiated since you became a parent, might not leave you any more time or energy to track all your child’s online activity manually. Technology, being both the pain and the remedy, has come to the rescue. Parental control apps allow you to track all your child’s online activities, restrict access to harmful content, and even find out their location. Along with all these features, Safes app has several exclusive features, such as battery life report and uninstall protection, which make it the best parental control app choice. What’s more, it has suitable prices and works on all platforms. You can download the app and start your 14-day trial for free!