Social Media and Kids: Not All Bad News

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photo: Nathan Rupert via Flickr

Maybe you worry that your tech-savvy kid already wants her own YouTube channel. Maybe you wish your tiny tot didn’t already know how to post a photo to Facebook or compose a text message like a grown-up.

But hear this, because it’s not all bad news. A recent article on outlined some of the positive outcomes social media can have on kids. These include the following:

Learning About Other People’s Perspectives (and, Just Learning) 
If your child wants to learn about an issue or current event, social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) can be a great way to hear about other perspectives. It can also be a good learning tool.

“For example, an Instagram image can give first-hand insight into how an artist today – or many artists around the world – interprets and applies Picasso’s cubist technique,” the article said. “This insight makes the information about Picasso real for the child.”

Support, Especially for Those With Particular Conditions
For kids suffering from a disability or health problem, there’s no easier place to turn to for support than their own computers. Online support groups help connect kids with others who can share their struggles; in addition, studies show social media helps combat social stigma and raise awareness of various medical conditions.

Stronger or Renewed Friendships
While it may seem like socializing online would isolate kids, studies have found that is not the case. Kids may seem glued to their gadgets, but they are still socializing with their peers in person, says a UCLA study. In fact, social media seems to help kids stay in touch, particularly helping friends stay in touch if one moves away.

Staying in Touch With Family
While getting your 7-year-old to have a more-than-three sentence phone conversation with grandma and grandpa may be tough; sharing his life on Facebook for the whole family to peruse keeps everyone watching him grow. See also: What to Do When Your Kid Wants His Own YouTube Channel.

Of course, parents still need to be mindful of kids’ online exploits, including installing filters that make the online experience more child-friendly and setting a child’s online profile (and yours, too, Mama, if you’re posting pics of your kids) to private.

Do you let your kids use social media sites? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

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