Scaring Kids About Social Media Won't WorkC.C. Chapman
Moments ago my daughter returned home from school. I greeted her with my standard “how was your day?”
She plopped down on the couch and began telling me a story about a big assembly they had at their school today and how horrible it was.
They brought someone in to scare the kids about social media.
Keep in mind that this is a room full of middle school kids.
The assembly was asked how many kids had Instagram accounts and most of the kids raised their hands.
Instantly they were told of the “dangers” of Instagram and how posting a photo of themselves anywhere can be dangerous because now people know what you look like and they can come and find you.
Plus, if they were to post photos of themselves anywhere but at home someone might track them down. They were even given the good old example of the “dangers” of posting family vacation photos since instantly anyone who wanted to rob their houses would know they could.
The final part that I guess was later the laugh of the school over lunch was the quote about how online friends are not real friends. Someone could only be considered a friend if they’ve eaten dinner at your house at least five times.
All the kids were pointing at all of the people with them who must not now be real friends.
To say I’m angry right now would be an understatement.
I’m all for kids being taught the dangers of the internet because there are some. But, social media and the tools used to access them are not dangerous. Rather it is the decisions made by people that causes bad things to happen.
Parents need to be educated on what the tools are. They need to know where their kids spend time and who they are talking to.
We have a rule in our house that before my kids sign up for any new service they have to check with me first. How do I know they do this? Because I check their phones and browser history at least once a week to stay on top of it.
How many of my daughter’s classmates are going to go home tonight and have the same conversation, but to a parent who doesn’t even know what Instagram is? Instantly they are going to think it is evil and freak out.
For years I’ve offered to do free social media training for the parents at the school and have been turned away. I stopped asking.
Kids are going to use all technology they can get access to. They need to be educated on what is appropriate behavior in today’s world, but scare tactics rarely work and they sure are not in this example.