Five Reasons Why You Should Encourage Your Child to Be Online
Yes, you read that right: encourage your kids to be online and join a social network! As a mom of five, I know how busy our children’s lives can be between school, homework, after-school activities and friends. So you might wonder “when” I’d suggest your child would have time to be online.
Well, that time is any time your child has screen time available to them. Whether it’s the TV, the Xbox, computer, or “iDevice”, these are the screen-time opportunities you should seize to introduce your child to something that will inevitably be a part of their lives: social networking. All the more reason to take an involved and proactive approach so that you can help ensure your child has a healthy, positive, age-appropriate and safe experience.
While there are definite concerns, rules and regulations related to children on social networks, (i.e. by law they must be 13 to join the mainstream adult-intended networks like Facebook or MySpace) the benefits to your child can be rich and rewarding! The top benefits include:
- Digital Literacy
- Social Skills
- Shared Interests
- Validation and Acceptance
When your child is participating in a social network meant for them, they’re supplementing the education they receive in the classroom and at home. Whether it’s learning about “ways they can be green” or “fun facts about hermit crabs”, they’re learning. From my own experience, the only time my 10-year old son asked me how to spell a word was when he has a spelling test. Imagine my surprise when he asked me if he was spelling “Cincinnati” right because he was posting in the Sports Sphere and didn’t want to “want kids to think he couldn’t spell.”
With our kids knowing more about technology typically than we do, you might wonder, what’s left for my kids to learn? Well, a lot. Whether it’s something simple like how to embed a video or how to download and create a photo album, there are important lessons to learn like “digital citizenship”, that are key to a positive experience. It’s why we teach our members to “be kind” to others online and “think before you post.” In the coming years, it won’t be just about consuming media; it will be about producing content, so it’s critical they have the skill set to do so.
Fact is, our kids live digitally connected lives. Yes, there is less face-to-face, real-life interaction. Social networking, like it or not, is today’s version of hanging out. The fastest growing segment of online users are those 2 – 11 years of age. That’s why it’s important that our children learn how to apply their digital citizenship skills, which they’ve learned from us and sites just for kids, to help them safely navigate these online social waters.
There isn’t a more rewarding experience than sharing your interest or expertise in social networks. Our children can showcase their talents, publicize and distribute it to their online friends, and become a micro expert.
Validation and Acceptance:
What’s more encouraging to a kid than to find a comment on their sphere post that says: “That is so cool that you can do that. I always wanted to. How did you learn? Do you practice a lot?” I chuckled over how many kids in Yoursphere asked for help and advice from one member who had a knack for creating some pretty neat jewelry out of recyclables. They all decided they wanted to start going through the family recycle bin to see what they could create! Each of our children is unique. They deserve the validation and acceptance they can get on social networks because of who they are, as well as the acceptance and commonality they will find when in the right environment.
Category: Tech Benefits