Fiona Pan (Year 8, Genazzano FCJ College) shares her views on teen social media use and on issues including: addiction, bullying and inappropriate content.
In Year 8, most people have and use Instagram, a bit of Snapchat and Twitter. However, I don’t think anyone has or uses Facebook. Since we often use social media for communicating, sharing and getting updated, Facebook can be like “the mothers club” of social media, as it is filled with more adult based content. For people who don’t have an iPhone, Whatsapp is really helpful as all brands can use it. This means that nobody is left out on any updates if they don’t have an Apple product. If someone doesn’t have a phone at all, we often communicate through emails. It is difficult though, as emails are accessed through their laptops, which they don’t check frequently.
I know a lot of the ‘fear’ surrounding social media is related to cyber bullying or inappropriate content. I’m not going to stand here and say that the internet is all sunshine and rainbows, but as long as you are educated about the proper use of social media and how to respond, I think social media will only influence your life positively! Of course, it is inevitable to stumble across inappropriate content as it is the internet we’re talking about here, but learning about how to respond, like blocking, can prevent it from happening again. There are many ways to master the use of social media:
1. Videos. Ironically, Youtube is very useful in helping on understand information. There are plenty of videos made by influencers who have been on the internet for a long time and know what they are talking about.
2. Parents, it is really important to teach your kids how to use social media properly or just simply monitor their use online. It is really helpful for you to have access to your child’s social media as it is easier to prevent inappropriate content from reaching their eyes.
3. School. For me, since my parents don’t use social media, school has been a major resource when learning about the online world. We have really great programs to teach us how to be safe online. Although your child may not be interested, the information will really help them when if a bad situation arises.
Another misunderstanding about social media is that it will negatively impact on study or relationships. Yes, it can definitely be a distraction, but consider that TV, talking and many other things also distract you. For me, the internet has mostly impacted me positively as I use it for inspiration and as a reference for work. It is also very useful for communication. People will often say things over text that they wouldn’t say face to face in a group.
To summarise, social media is a very useful tool when used properly. It is important to make sure you know everything the app can do... that way it is easier to avoid the inappropriate content.
1. Delete the app for a week – Timeout/Detox
2. Set a challenge with your friends to limit the use
3. Keep yourself busy – do real-life things
4. Use ‘ScreenTime’ or blockers to limit the usage
5. Turn off notifications
6. As your parents to help you (e.g take the phone away while you do homework)
7. Set phone to “do not disturb” or “aeroplane mode”
8. Talk to a counsellor or psychologist for strategies
9. Set time limits around homework/social media and gaming usage
10.Charge the phone out of the bedroom/ study area
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