Social media is all about relationships. Social networking sites like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and more are connecting us in new and different ways, giving our relationships with one another a heightened significance in the digital age.
Kids use digital media primarily to maintain and reinforce their existing relationships, and the most common way they do this is by texting. They text each other to set up times to meet and things to do, and then they text each other to discuss what they’ll do (or what they did!) when they meet.
The question is whether all of this texting and social networking is helping young people (or all of us, for that matter!) establish healthy relationships, or whether the quality of their interactions is being diminished without the intimacy of face-to-face interaction. Well, the good news is time spent online does not necessarily mean we are spending less face-to-face time with friends. Social media, it turns out, actually facilitates (and strengthens!) offline relationships. Still, unhealthy, and sometimes even dangerous, relationships can form online. It's important to understand how to enhance the positive benefits offered by electronic media while mitigating some of the possible dangers, like sexting, pornography, and cyberbullying.
Tips to Help Young People Maintain Safe and Healthy Online Relationships:
Young people use social networking sites and texting to augment — not to replace — existing relationships, so help them learn to communicate respectfully and appropriately.
Because social networking is an increasingly important method of communication for school and work, it's important to help kids learn how to effectively manage online relationships on SNS's.
Maintaining relationships with family members and friends who live far away is much easier through the use of social networking sites. Knowing how to share updates, photos, videos, and messages, helps everyone stay connected.
Many supportive relationships are formed in online communities. This is especially true for young people who have unique interests or may feel isolated. Help your child to find other young people who may share the same interests, or who might be dealing with similar issues.