Teens and tweens are on social media in their millions. In fact, that’s no longer the question; the question is which social media platforms are they on and what exactly are they doing there. The first part of that question is also easy to answer. You probably know that Facebook is the social networker’s favorite platform and that other websites such as Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter will also weigh in heavily. Other social websites frequented by this group of users include Vine, WhatsApp, Wanelo, Snapchat, 4Chan, and Kik Messager.
So, what do they do on social media?
Well, the truth is that some aspects of these social websites can be destructive for our teens and tweens. Vine for example is rated 17+ for a reason. The popular video sharing website has lately been criticized for cyberbullying as well as incidences of users posting Vines about suicidal intentions, which you may not be happy for your kids to view.
The good news is that even with the sporadic inciting and the few not-so-good activities happening on social media, there are several other productive activities on there that your kids can take part in and which can potentially boost their self esteem and their lives in general.
Here is a list of 6 positive social media activities that teens and tweens can engage in on social media:
1. Connecting with people who share similar interests
Social media is best known for how easy it enables users to find each other. Practically, if you are a Christian and are looking for a community of fellow Christians to share with, you’ll always find Christian groupings on Facebook and can decide to follow a few Vines with Christian themes. It’s similar to these young ones. If they are golfers, they can use social media to connect with other budding golfers and even professional players from whom they can learn so much.
2. Learning about people with varied backgrounds
Tumblr, for example, is a great place to learn about other user’s backgrounds. Tumblr allows users to create and share texts, photos, videos, and audio content. User profiles are more like blogs where you can find as much information as possible about a user. Our teens and tweens love learning about new cultures and there couldn’t be a better place to achieve this than on such websites.
3. Increase creativity by creating and sharing music and artistic content
Creating and sharing audio clips and artistic content isn’t just thrilling, it helps develop the creativity of these young ones. Vine and Instagram are the most popular video sharing websites but what you may not know is how much effort users put in editing these videos before posting them online.
4. Expanding ideas by developing and posting videos, blogs, and podcasts
In addition to creativity, creation of content such as blogs and videos requires the use of editing and posting tools. Users will need to start learning how to use editors like iMovie and Photoshop, and will also be using scheduling features available on most social websites. In reality, this expands the user’s imaginations.
5. Using social media to collaborate on school assignment and projects
One thing that most parents will agree with is that social media greatly assists our children in collaborating on school assignments and projects. Kik Messenger is a great example; the fact that it allows users to text free-of-charge is priceless for these young ones. Kik also comes with several additional features not available on traditional texting which makes it much more enjoyable and interesting. Google+ through its Google Docs feature is also useful for projects and classroom assignments.
6. They can also participate in charitable projects and political events
If you’ve always encourage your loved ones to contribute towards a charitable project; social media gives them the ultimate platform to participate in such activities. Not only that but these young one will also be able to engage in politics from a young age which can only be good for their futures. The Red Cross, for example, will from time use social media to raise money for victims of natural hazards or terrorist attacks or to ask people to donate blood for similar reasons. Surely, you’d be proud to see your loved ones be part of such campaigns.
Even with these options, you’ll still need to keep a close eye on the kids. The gap between the “iGeneration” and their parents continues to widen thanks to growing technology. Parents can close this gap by embracing social media themselves, by providing the needed guidance and setting limits on how their teens and tweens use social media, and by keeping tabs on their digital activities.