Social media and the internet have changed how we go about our lives. This is especially true for children and teenagers. But, just like with every other area in their lives, they need guidance from their parents to make smart and safe decisions and use good judgement. If you have heard about some of the dangerous Internet stunts kids are doing these days, you know this to be true.
While we all love a good Mannequin Challenge, there are more dangerous stunts trending online, such as the “Choking Game” that just killed a young student last month. To the young developing mind of a child who doesn’t want to be the odd one out, participating in online stunts isn’t a dangerous thing (because kids never think they’ll get hurt), but a way to “be cool” or “fit in.”
In an era where most children are engulfed in a screen at some point during the day, it’s important that you know what the latest trends are and how to guide your child into making smart decisions online.
Here are a few tips on how you can help your child be safe and smart when it comes to Internet stunts:
Model Good Online Behavior
Your kids are always watching what you do. From how you treat other people to how you handle stress, they’re soaking up your behavior like a sponge. That’s the way a child’s brain works. He or she pays more attention to your actions than your words.
If you participate in foolish social media stunts for the sake of achieving social media status, you’re sending the wrong message to your children.
Peer Pressure: More Dangerous In The Social Media Era
You were a kid once. Surely you remember a friend or classmates trying to pressure you to do something. But the pressure you faced as a child is totally different than what your kids face today with social media.
Social media hosts peer pressure like an uncontrollable forest fire.
Always being connected to and influenced by a group of peers that can extend into the hundreds or even thousands (Just how many “friends” does your child have on his or her social media accounts?) presents a lot of conflicting, and potentially dangerous, ideas to children.
With social media, your child is facing peer pressure from a world that “values” status – status that can be easily be judged by numbers. You child might try to rack up those “likes” and comments by participating in dangerous stunts because he or she wants to fit in, be cool and be accepted.
All children want to feel accepted. Teach them that is will never truly happen from social media status.
Encourage Your Child To Think Critically
Talking to your child about safety is probably a topic he or she will turn a blind eye to. Kids, especially teenagers, don’t want to listen to you. So, get them to think for themselves. Present the pieces of the puzzle and have your child put it together, so to speak.
Ask your child to think through every step of a stunt and figure out all the things that can go wrong. Ask him or her to consider if he or she really wants such a video of themselves on the Internet for all to see. Ask if he or she would consider doing a social media stunt for popularity.
Your child responding to your questions, as opposed to your demands, will help get them to see it from another perspective and access their own motivations for participating in an Internet stunt.
The trend of Internet stunts will probably keep evolving, so keep these tips in your parenting pocket.
About Justin Lavelle
Justin Lavelle is Communications Director at BeenVerified (https://www.beenverified.com)