As I was walking down the aisle at the grocery store, I passed a dad talking to his teenage daughter. “You spent four hours on TikTok last night!?” he questioned. The clear disappointment in his voice led to an ongoing argument about social media as I quickly exited the aisle.
Continuing through the grocery store, I joined “Team Dad” and thought of countless ways social media could be harmful. Why do we waste so much time on those platforms? Maybe it’s because they’re not all bad. For all the harm social media can do to our kids, it can also do a lot of good—if we teach them to use it wisely. Within healthy boundaries, there are benefits of social media. Here are 6 of them.
Social media may be the single best way to stay in contact with family and friends you can’t see on a regular basis. Just like the Christmas cards you may have received weeks ago, there’s an opportunity for an ongoing update of what’s happening in their lives. It’s a great supplement to stay engaged between in-person interactions.Social media can be a canvas for your kids to express what’s meaningful to them.
2. Personal Expression
Whether it’s a phase where they need to dress themselves, pick out their own shoes, or paint their room a new color, all kids want to be able to express themselves. Social media can be a canvas for your kids to express what’s meaningful to them. What they write, post, or engage with will give you a window into what they think is important.
Tips, tricks, and life hacks are all over social media, but some content can even go deeper into educational opportunities. These little nuggets can spark new interests or generate a deeper passion for things your kids have already been learning. This content can even serve as an intro to some career paths they’re interested in before diving all-in with it as their college major.
Imagine being in a class of 20 students and everyone has similar interests to yours. School would become the most exciting place to be as everyone would be talking about things you love. While classes likely won’t have that type of commonality, social media allows you to meet other people across the world who share a common passion.
Social media puts the world right at your kids’ fingertips. They could access almost anything in the world, which is why healthy boundaries for social media are extremely important. Letting your kids use social media within those boundaries expresses that you trust them, and it’s an opportunity for them to prove that you should (or shouldn’t). If allowing them space to explore within the safety of your home goes well, it will give you confidence that they know where to draw the line when they’re at a friend’s house, ball game, or off at college.
As kids begin to produce their own content, it gives them a space to be creative. Whether it’s new dance moves, trick shots, baking recipes, or an artistic graphic, the opportunities are endless. Even if it’s just saved in their archives and never posted, they had a chance to think creatively.
Sound off: What other benefits do you find your kids can learn from social media?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are the things you like most about social media?”