Today, most parents have had to adapt to and learn about today’s technologies, but for the younger generation, they were born into it. Children practically eat, sleep, and breathe video games, social media and the Internet. Though it is great to see all of the educational and learning opportunities on the Internet, the “web” does have its downsides, too.
What are “Internet Challenges”
Trends and #InternetChallenges have taken over social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. While some of the challenges and trends were created to support causes and organizations, others are just for pure entertainment, and can actually be dangerous to your child.
What Makes Them Dangerous
Teenagers want to fit in and tend to be more impulsive than other age groups, which is why they are the demographic most commonly participating in these challenges and trends. Their brains are still developing, leading to decisions that aren’t always rational. Trends in the past such as the cinnamon challenge, the salt and ice challenge and the Tide Pod challenge can all have negative, dangerous impacts on your teen’s health.
Social media just adds more pressure to your teen’s social life, often making them not think twice about doing something idiotic. They are not thinking about how their hands can get burned from the salt and ice or how the Tide laundry detergent can be poisonous, causing damage to their throats and airways. Instead, they are focused on how many views, likes and comments they will receive on their post.
As parent, you have a responsibly to engage with your teens and keep an open line of communication about what occurs in their social life. Though you don’t have to be a helicopter parent and know every detail, keeping up with their group of friends and what they are up to is always a good idea. Starting a conversation about a current trend or challenge is a great start to learning about your teen’s opinion of it. When they are young, it’s important to keep a close eye on how they use social media and the dangers of posting things they may regret later on.
Should You “Ghost Follow” Your Teen?
Being a “ghost” follower on your teen’s social profiles is a tactic some parents use. This means that you do follow their pages, but you aren’t engaging and commenting on their posts, kind of like the saying, “look but don’t touch.” Kids can find it embarrassing if their parent leaves comments on their posts, which can break a sense of trust. Remember, teens are going to experiment and make mistakes, and as the parent you just have to try your best to lead them in the right direction.