bubbles

The Importance of Internet and Social Media Safety

In this day and age, children are growing up surrounded by the internet and, with that, social media. While there are benefits to communication and creativity, safety concerns are very present for children of all ages. As parents, it is crucial to remain focused and aware of the internet and social media safety. 

The Basics of the Internet and Social Media Safety

Learning the basics of internet and social media safety can make monitoring easier. Here, we have laid out the main themes of internet safety and how they can affect your child. At Carithers Pediatric Group, our concerns for your child do not only exist at the physical level. We are here to help you through all of the challenges child development can have. 

Mental Health

Your child’s mental health is shaped and affected by their environment and interactions. Social media and the internet provide a unique opportunity for impacts on their mental health. These are not always positive and require an understanding so that you are aware of what could be going on in your child’s life online. 

Bullying 

One primary concern of social media is bullying, otherwise known as cyberbullying. UNICEF defines cyberbullying as bullying with the use of digital technologies. It is also considered repeated behavior on those who are targeted. Behind screens, people are less inclined to worry about what they are saying. They worry less about the effect their words are having on other people. 

Being able to identify the signs of cyberbullying is vital as a parent. If children start to feel uncomfortable using the internet in front of you or even changing the screens as you come by, this could be a sign that something is happening that your child does not want you to see. Along with this, if your child becomes withdrawn or less excited about the computer as they were before, this could also be a sign of cyberbullying. 

Inappropriate Content 

Aside from bullying, inappropriate content on the internet can harm your child’s mental health. There is so much on the internet and social media that oftentimes, children can stumble upon it without realizing what they are finding. 

A way to prevent these findings is to enable parental control blocks on the content you know your child should not be viewing. Internet and social media safety can be highly controlled by allowing your child to access. This can change with age, but it should be utilized when necessary. Once a child is exposed to inappropriate content, it could keep them from feeling comfortable talking to you about it. They may feel guilty, even when it was not their intention to view it. 

Trust Building

Alongside children’s mental health is their relationship with their parents or guardians regarding the internet and social media safety. Children are highly influenced by their surroundings and may let the presence of unsafe internet use change their relationship with you. The key to preventing this is understanding what a healthy relationship between technology and your child looks like. 

Open Communication

The first step to keeping a healthy relationship with you and your child regarding the internet is open communication. When your child feels comfortable talking to you, they will come to you in times of possible cyberbullying or other harmful effects of the internet. This entails letting them go to you, without them feeling pressured with consistent questions.  

Establishing Boundaries

While establishing open communication, parents and children can create the necessary boundaries for children to get privacy while staying safe. This could be as simple as discussing hours of internet and social media usage or letting your child know that you are installing the parental controls. They then understand that the situation is not a matter of you not trusting them, but ensuring they are not being taken advantage of online. 

Internet and social media safety can seem overwhelming for parents with children of all ages. Monitoring it accurately also means understanding the importance of doing so. Once you are able to learn about the dangers and the way they can affect your relationship with your child. Do you have questions about keeping your child safe on the internet? The medical professionals at Carithers Pediatric Group are here to help. Check out our website or give us a call to find new resources and information! 

Proudly Serving Children in Two Locations

Riverside

2121 Park Street

Jacksonville, FL 32204

904.387.6200

Southside

7741 Point Meadows Drive, Suite 207

Jacksonville, FL 32256

904.997.0023