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As a parent, would you know the warning signs that your child needs to step away from social media? Or what steps to take if they do?
Children growing up today are more connected than ever before.
And while social media and being online can offer many positives – it can be a “double edged sword” bearing online dangers.
The power to share every detail of your life online can bring with it a whole host of problems and levels of scrutiny that no other generation has had to deal with before.
But, as a parent, would you know the warning signs that your child needs to step away from social media? Or what steps to take if they do?
Writing for online safety body Internet Matters psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos says the hidden dangers of exposure to social media are only now becoming apparent.
“A few years ago, when I began researching the effects of social media on young people much of the worry was around access to things like pornography and the possibility of children being approached by strangers online,” she says.
“While these are still important issues to address, I think that increasingly it’s the more hidden aspects of the online world that have the potential to affect our children’s mental health.
“Young people live in a world today that is constantly connected and while this comes with benefits, it also comes with a feeling that you’re constantly visible, and by extension judged. This increased awareness of your visibility and access to other people’s opinions about; how they look, behave, act, what they post, how often they post, what they like, how they comment on others profiles – is leaving many children feeling stressed and unable to turn off the amplified sense of self-awareness that social media inevitably leaves you with.”
Linda says if you suspect that your children are feeling the pressure to live up their online identities, there are a few things that you can do:
Ways to support your child
Internet Matters is backed by the UK’s biggest broadband providers and supported by leading online child safety experts.
Its website offers a host of e-safety resources and advice for parents on issues including online bullying and making sure children don’t have access to inappropriate content.
Advice is organised into useful guides aimed at different age groups, ranging from the under-fives to teenagers.
Parents and schools are able to download these resources for free from the website www.internetmatters.org