Strangers are approaching their children on the street or at playgrounds used to be a source of concern for parents. Predators are now utilizing shady accounts on social media and gaming sites to spread the danger.
The Internet is a fantastic resource with several beneficial applications, but it is also a terrible fact that, as the world of internet communication evolves, predators looking to exploit children and young people now have more alternatives than ever before.
We now have various applications, social networking sites, and video gaming sites, all of which enhance our ability to communicate with people, including those we don’t know. This “internet playground” allows predators to reach out to a large number of youngsters and teenagers.
Many of these applications, sites, and games have a minimum age requirement, which is understandable, but users may avoid it by calculating a birthday that is older than the needed age! Hence protect your kids from potential online threats using smartphone monitoring apps like MobileSpy, Qustodio, mSpy.
Different Social Media With Age Restriction
The minimum age limit of 13 was set to prevent children under 13 from using social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and Secret. Users must be at least 14 years old to use LinkedIn, the only social networking platform.
Whatsapp, Vine, Tinder, and Path are among the portals that have set their minimum age limit to 16, 17, and 18. Apart from these sites, others have a minimum age limit of 13 to 18, although they demand parental approval before allowing youngsters access to their material. Kik, WeChat, YouTube, Flickr, Keek, and Foursquare are examples of such sites.
Positive aspects of social media
Using social media has several advantages, and it can help your children feel more connected to others and develop friendships. According to research published in Pediatrics, accessing social media regularly might benefit children and teenagers by “improving communication, social connection, and even technical skills.”
Other advantages of social media use include:
- Creating or joining a movement for a subject that they care about.
- Using a range of mediums to express one’s creativity.
- Increasing the number of people in your friend network that have similar interests or hold opposing viewpoints.
- Identifying volunteer or community engagement opportunities.
- Using social media to connect with peers to complete schoolwork.
Negative aspects of social media
While it’s wonderful to feel connected, social media may sometimes increase the sense of loneliness, worry, and depression. Children who use social media are more vulnerable to peer pressure and are more likely to suffer mental health problems. Here are some of the disadvantages of utilizing social media:
- Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is a risk for children and teenagers who spend a lot of time online.
- Phone Addiction: In the Digital Wellbeing 2020 research, over half of the teens surveyed feel addicted to their cell phones. Over half of those surveyed said their connection with technology had a negative influence on their life.
- Anxiety and depression: The more time children spend in front of a screen, the more nervous they get. Teens who use social media for more than three hours per day are more likely to internalize their problems, leading to sadness, stress, and FOMO.
- Sleep disturbances: Sleep is disrupted when people use their phones in bed, making it harder to relax, fall asleep, and remain asleep. Children who do not receive enough sleep are more likely to have mental health concerns, including depression, impulsive behavior, anxiety, and even worse cognitive test scores.
Why are These Restrictions in Place?
Because of legislation in the United States, most social media platforms have an age limit of 13 or older. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) says that organizations and individuals running online services (including social media platforms) cannot gather personal information from children under 13 without parental consent.
Most sites include a 13-year-old age limit to eliminate the need for parental consent for any user under 13. They include this restriction in their Terms and Conditions, which users must accept when they first join up. Some services may also require users to verify their age at the time of registration.
In the coming weeks, users and their parents should expect additional messages from corporations and others as they work to guarantee compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation.
Importance of social media Age Restriction
The total volume of material that can be seen and shared on social media and the permanence of young people’s decisions on social media are two significant factors to consider when answering why age limitations for social media are essential.
Social media is a virtual space that a diverse group of people occupies. We aren’t used to our young children sharing space with teenagers, young adults, and older adults without constant supervision since few real-world places attract such a wide variety of age groups.
By the age of ten, roughly 59 percent of children had utilized a social network, according to knowthenet.org.uk’s Social Age Study. Facebook has the highest number of users under 13—52% of 8 to 16-year-olds admit to violating Facebook’s age limit.
It doesn’t take research to figure out that young kids under 13 flock to sites like Instagram to post and share photographs and gain likes from their peers. So, as a culture, have we stopped caring about age limits? Is it enough for us to give them a collective shrug and say it doesn’t matter?
Age limits are important for several reasons:
Personal information about children is in danger.
Maintaining a child’s privacy can be challenging since they may not understand what information is acceptable to disclose online or what privacy settings default on the sites and devices they use.
Children might unintentionally expose enough personal information online, such as their address and phone number, to allow their identity to be stolen. As a result, youngsters must understand how to keep their personal information private.
If a kid’s identity is stolen, it may go unnoticed for years, leading to the youngster being blackmailed, groomed, or harassed online in some situations.
Children under 13 cannot make smart decisions.
Children below the age of 13 are unable to make wise internet decisions. Children appear to be “tech-savvy” at younger and younger ages, but it does not imply that their brains are growing at the same ratio as their digital skills.
According to research, it takes around 12 years for children to fully acquire the cognitive structures to participate in ethical reasoning. It’s difficult for a youngster under the age of 12 to fully understand the consequences of their behavior on others, whether online or off.
On the other hand, young children are increasingly using social networking sites, putting themselves in danger by becoming targets of online harassment, solicitation, and cyberbullying before they are ready to respond appropriately.
Problem with kids mental health
One of the primary issues impacting children’s mental health might be social media. Too much time spent on social media can result in bullying, depression, and anxiety. Spending more than 4 hours per day online increases the danger of a child becoming hyperactive and inattentive and lowering their self-esteem.
The way children use social media is linked to their mental health. Strong social support networks, tools, and online communities can help children who healthily use social media, boosting their sense of connection and self-esteem. Children who engage in harmful online behaviors, on the other hand, may have poor health consequences such as anxiety, sadness, or hyperactivity.
As a parent, you should be concerned about the effects of social media on mental health and spot signs of mental illness.
Simply said, lying is wrong.
It is just wrong to tell lies. We live in a civilized society, which means we follow some pretty unspoken norms and agreements: we take turns, use decent manners, stop at red traffic lights, play fairly, be courteous, and so on…. and we speak the truth.
Giving a false birthday to Facebook or Instagram may appear to be a harmless lie, but it is still a lie with serious implications. Allowing a kid to fake a date of birth is unethical and sends the incorrect message to young people, whether online or offline.
If having an online social life is essential to your young kid, many secure options are created, particularly for younger users.
There are restrictions for youngsters who wish to use social media since the internet world may bring numerous hazards for them, including cyber-bullying.
The main social media sites include age restrictions that prevent minors from registering accounts to keep children safe.
We all know how popular social media services are among young people of all ages. Before their children use social media platforms, parents may play an essential role in preparing them to go online. You may go through the most important things kids need to know about keeping safe online, critical thinking, and the many safety options accessible to them together.
When considering creating an online profile with your kid, have a family discussion and make this decision together – speak about why they want the account and make sure that any family members who use social media are aware of the tools available to keep them secure.