Anushka's blog: The Pros of Social Media for Kids…

clock Released On 05 March 2024

Anushka's blog: The Pros of Social Media for Kids…

…are none you may say? I may have triggered a knee-jerk response into how childhoods were ‘so much better in our day’ and social media has led to low attention span, superficiality, narcissism, cyber-bullying, fake news proliferation as well as populist and polarised opinion forming.  You are probably right on many of those points.  Like it or not, it is here, and children are exposed to it earlier than we wish.  

As a realist and pragmatist, I’ve decided to embrace social media rather than convince my kids of the virtues of an idyllic life without tech.

Social media is embedded in our culture.  We connect and learn by that shared culture and to not engage in this would be to not understand a fundamental part of what my kids will be exposed to in one way or another.  By shielding them from it, I am not shielding them from the vicissitudes of life.  By using it to connect with them myself, I use it to explore the wonders and joy in life with my kids and discuss the less salubrious side that they may encounter but with a critical and streetwise eye.

I would rather my kids first encountered social media alongside me rather than via an unsupervised friend.

I select a mix of news items, environmental issue updates, animal antics, comedians, waterslide and rollercoaster rides, stunts with a smattering of trending dances and fun activity or recipe reels.   

Social Media has some uses.  It can educate, entertain and disseminate information in a highly memorable way by entwining images and music with a thought or concept.  It captures my kids’ attention and conveys knowledge in a snappy way and, by watching my curated collection of reels together with them, I can teach them to view this content with a healthy dose of cynicism.

The power of AI means that curating a suitable selection of reels from Instagram to view together takes virtually no time at all.  The algorithm adeptly channels towards you content similar to that which you have liked and saved in the past.  I have found TikTok much more of a jumble of random and often inappropriate content.  There is less content on Facebook and, as it is static rather than video, it tends to be less appealing.

A few examples of what we look at are @ukfactcheckpolitics; @bbcnews; @popnmatters; and  I add into the mix some super fit, strong and positive influencers aged 40 plus.  Social media can be quite ageist, so I want to address this.  We watch some doctor influencers for health tips and we all love @jefferson_fisher.  He is a lawyer whose punchy advice covers narcissism, being assertive, setting boundaries and handling arguments.

We look at reality TV, beauty and stunt reels too but always deconstructing what is real and what isn’t and questioning what we actually think happened, why we enjoy these and what the motive for creating these reels is. 

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Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 11 and 13.


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