Important Considerations Before Creating a Social Media Account for Your Child

Discover the Essential Guide to making your child's social media accounts safer and more manageable.

Starting in January 2023, the number of social media users in Indonesia shows 167 million people, with Facebook occupying the top rank followed by YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok.

The age range of its users starts from 12 to 60 years and above. It is not uncommon for us to find social media for young children, both operated by their parents and managed independently.

The importance of understanding various important aspects in deciding whether to create a child's social media account or allow children to register their first social media account. The goal is definitely to protect and educate children in interacting online.

Some of the things that need attention include:

  1. The positive and negative sides of Social Media

As parents and adults who are able to sort out the good and bad things, you are faced with a window of communication and information that can have a positive and negative impact on your child's life.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry maps out the positive aspects as well as the potential risks of social media, including:

Potential benefits of social media include:

  1. Stay connected with friends;

  2. Meet new friends with similar interests;

  3. Finding community and support for specific activities;

  4. Share artwork or music; and

  5. Explore and express yourself.

Furthermore, there are also potential risks from social media, namely:

  1. Exposure to harmful or inappropriate content (for example: sex, drugs, and violence);

  2. Exposure to dangerous people;

  3. Online bullying (cyberbullying), a risk factor for depression and suicide;

  4. Excessive sharing of personal information;

  5. Excessive advertising exposure;

  6. Privacy concerns, including the collection of data about teen social media users;

  7. Identity theft or being a victim of hacking; and

  8. Interfere with sleep, exercise, homework, or other activities.

  1. Create Firm Rules

Parents are obliged to give firmness to children who are already adept at playing with their gadgets. Because according to neuroscience research, children's involvement with technology and social media can have a negative impact on their brain size (American Psychological Association).

Too long using social media until late at night will affect the quality of children's sleep, and inconsistent sleep schedules have an impact on the structural development of the brain in adolescence. This results in poor performance at school, difficulty paying attention, and stress symptoms that affect mental health.

Therefore, the role of parents will be considered very important in supervising children in using social media responsibly. Set time limits for children accessing the internet so they don't interfere with their primary activities, or by making "no screen time" rules at the dinner table while studying and before going to bed.

  1. No Sharing Of Personal Information

Do you know the rules of privacy on social media? 

Kominfo explained that most social media platforms implemented privacy policies, although the details and completeness vary. However, it should be noted that some platforms cooperate with third parties to share information about users ' data without clearly stating the identity of the third party.

Thus, parents are required to enable privacy settings to limit access to personal information and not to carelessly post sensitive things related to children such as date of Birth, full name, and school location.

Children or adolescents who create their first social media need to be advised not to share addresses, telephone numbers, demographic data, passwords, bank account accounts or credit cards and to turn off location services if necessary.

  1. Choosing Content

Be careful in posting everything about your child, especially for parents who will decide or even have already created a personal account for their child. We don't know what kind of predators roam behind the scenes and target photos or videos of children for unethical purposes.

Think back to the impact in the future that could be that children are exposed to cyberbullying when they reach adolescence due to previous posts that can be used as a tool to attack them.

It's the same for teenagers whose parents cannot be careless about the content they share and see every day. Exposure to explicit content that can negatively affect children can significantly damage children's character development.

  1. Instill Value in Children

Richard Weissbourd, a psychologist and co-director of The Making Caring Common Project at Harvard, explores that children see the real picture of being moral through their parents. So, parents must live with positive values and morals. 

Values that are transmitted can shape behavior and attitudes affect children's social relationships both in real and virtual environments. Thus, children who have been instilled with value by their parents from an early age will grow up with a level of maturity of positive thinking, especially in surfing on social media.

In conclusion, parents must consider the indicators above in making social media accounts for their children. Avoid sharing personal information, choose appropriate content, and instill values and morals that are important to them.

If the goal is to save beautiful memories of your little one's growth and development, it is more advisable to upload them to data and file storage systems (cloud storage) such as Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and many more. Don't forget to accompany your child who is starting to get to know social media so that they are wiser in their interactions and avoid the negative side of cyberspace.

Find other helpful parenting articles at Global Sevilla.