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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Parents often talk about the scourge that is the Internet. Unfortunately, the fear of what their kids may find online prevents many parents from utilizing the Internet as a powerful tool for both educational and personal needs. Information online ranges in variety from the practical to the incredible to the sordid, from information about the best cash back card to sky-diving how-to’s to celebrity scandals. Like its predecessor, television, the Internet has good qualities and bad. Social media, in particular, is often demonized as being too dangerous and risky for kids to take part in. There are certainly dangers that sites like Facebook can present.

Privacy is a big concern. What could be more important than protecting your kids from online predators? You also want to make sure they don’t click on links and apply for a Chase Sapphire card or get their identities stolen. Also, social media is often thought of as a distraction that can get in the way of your kids’ homework and productive recreational activities. But here are some considerations that could change the way you think about social media in your household:

Social media can be a great way for your kids to communicate with like-minded friends. Let’s face it, it can be tough for some kids to make friends, especially friends who are good influences on them. Social media allows you to refine your searches. Maybe your kid wants to be a part of a Pokemon community. That can easily be found online.

Social media is a future-safe skill that could help your kids research what college they want to attend and, eventually, what job they want to pursue. By all indications, social media will be around for a while. If your kids learn to use these networking communities, such as LinkedIn, they can be resources for life, connecting them with educational opportunities and career advice.

Social media can help your kids organize and share their artwork. If your child is a budding artist, he or she might really enjoy uploading pictures and videos and organizing them. Privacy controls can be set to ensure that only friends can view them. This offers a great way for kids to share their projects online.

That’s three examples of how social media can be used productively in your kids’ lives. Obviously, it’s still critically important that you work with your kids, monitor their online activity, and make sure they know how to use privacy controls, as well as of legal age before obtaining an account anywhere. But just because a new technology has risks associated with it, doesn’t mean it should be completely avoided, especially by kids who will grow up in a world dominated by social media.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to use social media safely.

Image courtesy of Murilo Moura via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.