Whatsapp, Ιnstagram, Υoutube, Facebook etc. are social media, also called social networks, which children and young people know and particularly love. In general, the term “social media” refers to all networks over which digital communication takes place and with the help of emoticons an emotional participation of each individual can be expressed accordingly. Children and young people today cannot imagine a world without the Internet.The boundary between the real and the virtual world is becoming increasingly blurred by sharing real and virtually changed experiences via social networks.
Do young people share everything with each other? The answer is no. The images and lifestyles presented on social networks do not reflect the real life environment of adolescents. Instead, their posts on social media show their ideal picture of themselves. Before clicking the “Share” button, they filter and optimize their everyday life, which they then share in their profile. In fact, they don’t just share every detail of their lives what they want others to know about them – through special filters.
Pleasure or hurt them? It would be easy to blame the media, but that would not be right. Social networks have been developed for entertainment purposes and to meet the great need for communication. Nevertheless, the application (intensity, frequency, duration) sometimes shows the opposite of the desired results. It is clear that in cases where a child spends a lot of time on social networks, it neglects other needs and obligations of its daily life, such as: B. the need to socialize, school and personal activities etc. The effects of social networks on a child’s psyche can be negative, in some cases even catastrophic. Social networks can exert a lot of pressure due to role models, the enormous density of information, the fake news and the constant aggressive bombing with advertising. Adolescents often lack the necessary reflectivity to distinguish reality from virtual reality.
Following – Fomo (or Fear of missing out) is a term related to the fear of “missing something that is happening” and was created through the use of social media. People who live with this fear are constantly having worrying that someone else will have an exciting experience from which they are excluded, which unfortunately leads to them staying online for long amounts of time to find out what others are doing. This creates a vicious circle from which it is difficult to get out. It is stressful to have the impression that you are always online and to have to respond immediately to messages. This pressure is also perceived by many adults, sometimes even by children. Young girls in particular, according to social scientist Kara Booker, have a strong sense of fear and pressure from social media because girls are more prone to comparison. Having to win more and more “friends” or “followers” can put some girls under a lot of pressure.
The digital community is now an integral part of our society. But would you ever describe your concerns or interests to a stranger you meet on the way home? Would you entrust him with how you plan your weekends, your plans for the coming summer vacation, your goals for the coming years or the places you would like to visit with your partner? Would you show him photos of personal moments or on the map their address or the address of your workplace? This happens on social media, non-stop, without users being able to influence who has access to your content.
Practical tips for safe use of social media
The following tips will help you to increase your security and raise your awareness of the dangers on the Internet:
- Do not log in on social media
You shouldn’t log in to other websites via social media, even if it’s easier and faster than logging in with a new password. Facebook in particular offers this login function for other websites and links it to many different services to collect data.
- Do not provide personal information
You should not provide any personal information such as age, home address, school, location that could be of interest to criminals.
Do not enter a password in the online profile
Your passwords should be kept confidential. It is not a sign of friendship to share the password.
Choose secure and difficult passwords
For your own security, you should change your passwords regularly. Information on the secure password can be found under “Data protection – secure password Passwort “.
- Note friend requests
Friend requests from strangers should not be readily acknowledged. Parents and legal guardians should be informed immediately if an unknown person wants to meet with their child in reality.
“Friends and Personal Information”
If you accept a friend request, you should know that this person has access to your child’s personal information, including photos and contact information, that appear on their profile.
Block unpleasant messages
If they get uncomfortable mails or are harassed in the chat, they should remove this person from the friend list. This blocks further contact and transparency in your own profile.
- Posting means publishing!
When a post is posted, it is published. Together with your child, consider whether it is ok if, e.g. a teacher or the grandparents see this post. If this is not the case, the post should not be published. Comments and reactions to contributions from others, as well as the reposting of contributions should also be carefully considered. These can also be read and commented on by many.
- Night rest!
If the cell phone is used before going to bed, the brain is activated based on the information received. The screen light suppresses melatonin production (a hormone that controls the sleep-wake rhythm)
Experience has shown that it is helpful to “put your smartphone to sleep” at night.
For example, on a central charging station that is not in the bedrooms.
So that you and your child can relax, it makes sense use smartphone breaks when the family does not use a smartphone.
- Surf together regularly
Offering your child to surf together gives you the opportunity to learn about your child’s online interests and to be able to influence them.