Kids on social media can be a scary thing.
Social media can be full of little gremlins looking to tear you down. It’s overridden with negativity. People are made to feel insignificant and worthless.
Internet predators lurk behind the screen. Stalking our children and capitalizing on poor self esteem. Seductively luring our children into their house made of candy.
Social media can be scary, but it also has its benefits.
At age 12 my daughter started her own YouTube channel to create and post challenge videos. Apparently it’s super popular to watch people put random food items into a blender and drink it. “How to” gaming videos are also another huge hit. So she wanted to bring laughter to the world with smoothie challenges and help the world master Minecraft and Ark Survival Evolved.
Initially I dug my heels against her own YouTube channel. My reaction was primarily based on fear. Fear of the unfamiliar and unknown.
What I discovered instead was that other YouTubers were leaving her positive feedback saying her video was good or that she came up with a great challenge. They also offered her tips and suggestions on how she could improve her videos.
This not only provided her opportunities to grow as a videographer, but also provided a community of support. It connected her with people doing similar things. She was also able to shoot out questions and get answers immediately.
Gain a new set of skills
Having her own YouTube channel also motivated her to research and try out different video editing apps. She’s learning what equipment works best and learning more about lighting and sound for the videos.
She’s also gaining experience that she’ll be able to include on a resume or school application. Now I know what you’re thinking. She’s 12. But starting in 6th grade our schools are pressuring our kids to decide on a career. She has friends who have already picked out their college! So helping her gain experience in areas she is passionate about and start discovering if it could be a career seems like a kind thing to do.
Besides, as a creative she is building her portfolio and created a landing page for others to view her work. In this day and age, we don’t tell people about our work, we show them.
Meet people different from us
Let’s be real. We surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. The communities we live in consist of people that look like us. Our friends have similar interests. The schools we select are made up of people like us and are staffed by people who think like us. So the reality is, we don’t provide ourselves much opportunity to experience diversity. When we do, we become socially awkward.
Our kids, however, get to interact with people on a daily basis who think differently, look differently, and live in different places all through social media. Through gaming, my daughter has met people from a variety of countries. They give each other tips on how to beat a level or just chat about their day. It’s also become the one and only opportunity for her outside of school to practice her Spanish since some of the players she’s connected with live in Mexico.
Practice problem solving
In Minecraft the players are given a clean slate. They then must figure out how to survive and stay safe. In battles and for basic necessities.
I’ve watched my kids and their friends create entire worlds on Minecraft from nothing. They’re designing buildings on land, in the water, and in the air using architectural concepts. They’re creating sustainable communities. Figuring out where to find animals, train them, and use them either for a mode of transportation or as a source of food. They’re also seeking out other food sources by creating gardens. They build shops, stock them, and trade supplies amongst each other.
Stay connected & strengthen relationships.
Throughout school friends move, change schools, and get involved in different interests. It gets harder and harder to spend time with them as everyone gets older. Yet social media allows them to stay connected.
Not just with friends but family too! It is much easier to build a relationship with a cousin that lives in a different area today than when I was growing up. We were completely dependent on our parents to physically bring us together. Now you can Skype, FaceTime or connect with Facebook or Messenger.
They can even connect on games and play with each other. While in separate states!
Social media can be a bad thing or it can be a good thing. It’s all about how we choose to use it. But based on just the few reasons listed above, I truly believe it is good for our kids. The ability to gain feedback to improve and expand your skills, connect with different people and expand your knowledge of life, and strengthen new and existing relationships is invaluable.
Now that you know the benefits of social media for our kids, check out my tips on how to keep them safe while they use it!
10 Tips on Social Media Safety for Kids
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