Nowadays, Internet and social media are so well developed that even very young-aged children own at least one social media accounts. Children who are under 15 years old actually have much poorer self-control abilities than the adults; meanwhile, they are extremely curious about all the things and want to have a try. Social media provides a perfect open platform for these young children to look at the outside world that they are unable or they have not had time to experience. It seems to be a great opportunity for the young children to broaden their horizon through the social media. But more and more people are considering about the social media safety issues related to the young children. Will the young children be affected by the bad behaviors online? Will they learn the ‘rude’ or ‘unkind’ words via the social media and use them in the real life to their friends? Will they be scared by the ‘online bullying’ and negatively affect their future life? All these questions are discussed in this year’s ‘safer Internet Day’ conference. I think it is important to focus more on the ‘safer social media’ and create a better Internet and social media environment for children since more and more younger children are involved in this social media world.
Actually, according to this news (Reference: Safer Internet Day: Young ignore ‘social media age limit’), a lot of social media platforms have already created some limits for the young children, especially those under 13 years old. For example, Facebook and Kiki bring up refusal message if the user type in an underage date; Yahoo allows the young children to set up their accounts but refuses them to have access to some subsidiary services; Twitter and Instagram ban the children users who are under 13 years old. However, all these limits can be broken if the children lie for their ages since none of these social media platforms actually require the proof of photo IDs.
So how to actually make some rules to create a safer social media and Internet environment for the young children is a very difficult question. Some people suggest that the social media platforms can ask some challenging questions to catch out underage users when they sign up or only give the users one chance to type in their date of birth since some young children will change their ages after their sign up is rejected by the server because of the young age. But all these suggestions might totally prevent the young children from entering the social media. It is not a best solution since the young children can actually enjoy their social media networks as long as there is a safer social media environment. And they can even learn a lot other than the textbooks from the social media. Social media is a great place for children to learn, create and have entertainments.
How can these social media platforms create a safer environment for the young children and navigate the young children to make full and better use of their platforms are very urgent problems they must solve. Also, all the people in the society have the responsibility to help our young children to create a safer social media environment. As long as young children use the social media well, it is a great platform for the young children to broaden their horizon and get more fun during their childhood.