By Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media parenting editor
It seems like every day there's another story about kids sexting, cyberbullying or suffering from acute FOMO (fear of missing out). Yes, the risks of social media are real. But there's a lot about the way kids use and think about apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Kik Messenger and even YouTube that we don't understand. With millions of kids using these programs and only a fraction misusing them, they can't be all bad, right?
New research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share and learn online. As a parent, you can help nurture the positive aspects simply by accepting how important social media is for kids and helping them find ways for it to add real value to their lives. For inspiration, here are some of the benefits of your kid being social media-savvy:
- It strengthens friendships. According to Common Sense's study Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, 52 percent of all teens who use social media say it's helped their friendships, whereas only 4 percent say it has mainly hurt their friendships; and 29 percent of social network users believe that social networking makes them feel more outgoing (compared to 5 percent who say it makes them feel less so).
More on social media and parenting at Common Sense Media
Q&A: What are the basics my kid needs to know about social media?
Q&A: Is there a downside to keeping my kid off social sites?
Q&A: Is it OK for my kid to friend her teacher on Facebook?
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org
HuffPost Parents offers a daily dose of personal stories, helpful advice and comedic takes on what it’s like to raise kids today. Learn more