The advertisers' goal is to target their ads in a very specific way, thus maximizing their profits. It doesn't sound so dangerous, because due to the huge volume of information, a computer (and not a human) does this job, extracting targeted information about each person. However, the data can fall into the wrong hands, so there’s always the danger of exposing private info about you and your children online and offline.
Not only that, but social media also makes it easy for teens to be bullied. One in two kids has been bullied online so far. And since 90% of teens use their cell phones on a daily basis, it's not a surprise that the smart phone is the most popular medium for cyber bullying. Sadly, only 10% of kids will tell their parents that they've been abused online, and many of those who have been bullied are more inclined to commit suicide.
Ironically, the bullies are affected as well. Most of them think that because they are posting stuff online from the comfort and security of their homes, their identity is protected, and they are 100% safe.
That's one of the most powerful illusions which are created by social media: the illusion of security. However, any message, any photo, any video and any other resource that's been posted online, even on so-called "anonymous" social media sites, can be (and probably is) stored on a third-party computer.
It has been demonstrated that social media also has a strong negative impact on academic performance and business productivity. In fact, social networking sites isolate people, rather than bringing them together in a real, meaningful way. This leads to serious psychological problems, such as depression and poor sleep patterns, as well as to physical problems, which are caused by the lack of physical activity.
As a busy parent, you've already gotten lots of responsibilities. This is why it's very difficult to supervise what your children are doing on the Internet, and especially on their preferred social media platforms. Not only that, but most parents lack the needed tech knowledge, which is required to keep up with the new social media platforms that are used by teenagers.
Still, it is crucial to learn what social media apps your kids are using, what they do online, and who their virtual friends are. Tell your children to avoid any interaction with strangers, just like they should do in real life. Also, install an effective Internet activity monitoring tool, to make sure that everything is under control.
In the end, it is crucial to keep an open line of dialogue with your children. Encourage them to ask for your opinion whenever they are unsure about a social media message that they have received, or they plan to send to others.