Social media has transformed the way parents create memories with their kids. Family photo albums are replaced with virtual albums on Facebook and home videos are uploaded on YouTube for the world to see (Charlie Bit My Finger is a classic example). Inevitably, the phenomenon of “social media babies” is on the rise. The statistics are very revealing. A survey of 2,200 mothers from around the world with children under the age of two found the following:
- 23% of mothers have posted sonograms of their babies online
- 7% of parents have created an email address for their babies
- 70% of mothers have posted images of their babies to share with friends and family
The same study revealed that a child develops an online presence at an average age of 6 months – before they can even walk or talk! By the time they turn two, over 80 per cent of children already have a digital footprint.
Many of you feel very strongly about this topic. The general consensus is that children younger than 13 (or 16, in some cases) should not be on social media channels. Our community members had a number of good reasons:
“If the [child] violates the terms of service, I won’t support or engage.” – Mike
“[Children] need to develop their social skills in the real world first.” – Carolina
“It is too easy for bullying to start online, hidden behind the 'security' of a computer, fake profiles and faceless harassment can damage our children's perceptions of the world and themselves.” – Elsie
Despite parental concerns, it seems social media is encouraging parents to share more information about their children as early as possible. Earlier this month, Facebook announced that expectant parents can add their unborn babies as a family member on their profiles with a photo, name and due date. Announcing a pregnancy via Facebook just might become the newest trend for parents of the iGeneration. Allowing children to have a social media presence is a personal decision made by parents. Bobi, a Springfree community member, articulates the important role that parents play when it comes to raising “social media babies”:
“It depends on the child, the way it will be used, and how involved the parents will be in educating their children and monitoring their online activity… [My husband and I] also have the knowledge and tools to monitor all online activity - and we do so! I think it is a decision that parents need to educate themselves on, and decide what is right for their family.”
We couldn’t have said it better, Bobi! What “rules” do you enforce at home regarding social media? How did you decide what was right for your family? To buy a Springfree Trampoline visit, www.springfree.com. To watch our new miniseries, visit www.springfreetrampolinereview.com. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/springfree for exclusive content. Follow us on Twitter @springfree to chat with our team.