Social media is a great way for students to keep in touch with their friends, build study groups, and share knowledge. In Australia alone, around one in two people use Facebook on a daily basis, and the average teenager spends over 1200 hours on social media platforms each year.
With social media usage so high and cyber bullying levels rising, we must ensure that everyone feels safe, comfortable, and respected online. So, what can we do to keep students safer on social media, and why is it so important? Here’s where the need for social media monitoring for students and children comes in.
Social media monitoring gives parents and teachers an insight into the content that young people are exposed to. Over 50% of teenagers admit that social media distracts them from the people they’re with at any given time, and many teenagers struggle to make friends offline. Since social media isn’t going anywhere—and yet around 60% of parents in Australia admit to never checking their teen’s social media accounts—we must find effective ways to monitor its usage. The good news is, online tools for students can help us achieve this goal.
Why Social Media Monitoring is Important
Since social media now plays such a large role in our daily lives, it’s important to understand how it affects us. While we already know its many advantages—from convenient, real-time communication to entertainment and information access—it’s also smart to take note of how it can negatively affect its users, especially young children and students.
Being more informed when it comes to both sides of the social media coin helps us better prepare and keep our children safe from online criminals and cyber bullying. It also emphasises the importance of social media monitoring efforts, which is something that we shouldn’t ignore due to the following reasons.
The Scourge Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying occurs when people send harmful or offensive messages and content to others through electronic or digital media. Hostile, aggressive, and intimidating behaviour that takes place online also counts as cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is increasing at an alarming rate. Worryingly, one of the major factors influencing the increase in cyber bullying is the number of different social media platforms available to young people. However, by paying attention to the messages that students are sending and receiving, and by blocking potentially harmful messages from making their way to the recipient, we can reduce the instances of cyber bullying today and save more young people from its ill-effects. That said, having a clearer idea of how your kids use social media can also help you stop them from becoming cyber bullies themselves.
Online criminals are targeting people now through social media channels. As such, it’s also a good idea to know who your kids or students are talking to online. In fact, 15% of teenagers report being approached by strangers every day online, and these people can influence students to do or say things that they wouldn’t do otherwise. Teenagers are especially at risk from sexual predators who may send them inappropriate content and try to establish an illegal relationship.
What can we do about this? The old adage “Don’t talk to strangers” applies to the online world as well. Through social media monitoring, you’ll know the persons your kids are talking to online, and if it’s safe to do so. If needed, you can then take appropriate action, such as blocking content and messages which can be deemed as a form of cyber bullying or online crime.
Social Media Responsibility
There’s nothing wrong with encouraging young people to use social media for its aforementioned benefits. That said, it’s important to stay responsible online as well. One of the core goals of social media monitoring is to make sure young people question and analyse the messages that they’re planning to send first and how they would feel if they received such messages.
This allows them to have a better understanding of what should and shouldn’t be shared on social media. Effective social media monitoring is a fantastic learning tool—students may not realise that their messages or communications are offensive unless they’re asked to review them as needed. All these work towards making young children and students become responsible users of social media.
Protection and Review
Young people are trying to discover who they are, their passions, and accept their identities. However, certain forms of social media content such as those racist, homophobic, violent, or otherwise obscene in nature can seriously impact their self-esteem. As a result, their social skills may be negatively affected.
Social media monitoring tools for students can flag these types of harmful content so it can be reviewed by parents or teachers. They can take the necessary actions after, such as deleting the content and potentially blocking the source as needed. Reviewing the content also means that if quality or useful content is accidentally flagged as inappropriate, it can still be marked as safe and be viewed by the user.
A Friendly Reminder
It’s worth noting that, while it’s important to find ways to monitor the social media use of students and children, we must also value their privacy. As such, for parents and teachers, you must tell them why you want to have a better idea of their social media activities and the content they receive and send and emphasise that this is for their own good.
You must also let them know that you value their privacy and won’t be intrusive when it comes to your social media monitoring efforts. This way, you can assure them that you won’t embarrass them online or put a dent on your relationship with them, and that what you’re doing is to protect them from harmful online elements.
How Starshell Student Can Help
We at Starshell Student are advocates of having a safer social media landscape and online environment. This is why we, together with Kudos Knowledge, developed a platform that functions as both a cyber bullying safety tool in Australia and a digital social media monitoring instrument for children and students. It monitors and flags potentially harmful content, saving users from the negative effects of cyber bullying. And, since it’s based on education rather than punishment, it also educates students and ties with their school’s social media framework, helping them become responsible social media users.
If you want to know more about how Starshell Student works or if you want to be part of our campaign against cyber bullying, click here. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have any questions.