Our latest guest expert talks about the benefits of using social media for teens and tweens. Karen is a social media consultant; find out more about her below.
Doesn’t it feel like that there is so much negativity around children of any age using social media? In the main, this is coming from older generations that didn’t have the benefits of using social media in a positive way in their childhood (or at all).
The age of social media
My daughter is 5. She’s grown up in the age of social media. She doesn’t know any different. That’s one, as parents of an age that didn’t grow up with social media, we have to remember. Of course, at the age of 5, she’s not running social media accounts but I have no doubt that will come when she hits 13 (with our supervision). She shows a lot of interest in my work and accounts that I run on Instagram – she’s developed a flare for fashion and style already, because of my use of social media.
How we’ve positioned the use of social apps like YouTube Kids with her as parents has been key. Yes, we limit it (like my parents did with the TV when I was a child), but we see it as a fun educational tool. When we went into lockdown in March 2020, she was 3. She learnt the alphabet and how to count to 10 from the living room whilst we held down our jobs. She’s learned about the continents, all about space (which is more than I could teach her), drawing techniques, social skills and lessons. Thank you, YouTube Kids!
There were a lot of positive cartoon nursery rhymes, with strong kindness and equality messages, too. (I’m skipping passed the fact that she still refers to the bin lorry as the garbage truck, and can pull off an American accent without a slip-up!).
Opening up the world
Recently, she was doing a gymnastics show for me at home. At the end of her performance, she said to me “Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment below”. Using social media in the form of YouTube has opened up her world. The world can be right in front of her and she, if she chooses (with our guidance), can talk to that world too. She’s definitely been given so many new opportunities for creative learning that she might not otherwise have got, with two full time working parents during lockdown.
She isn’t just using YouTube Kids, she’ll open age-appropriate learning apps on my phone and play games (little does she know that they are all fun learning tools). We read about world news on social media and explain to her what it means… For me as a child, the news was for grown ups.
The world of social media has given her aspirations for when she’s older…. We’ve used platforms to play to her creative strengths, following along with drawing, arts and creative bloggers that are aimed at her age. For my daughter and so many others, social media has opened up a whole world of creativity, possibilities, education, support and fun!
Making realism cool
As she grows older, I’m excited about one of the best things I feel has come from social media – making realism cool. Gone are the days when the perfect body, the endless wardrobe or showing off the perfect life are the only content out there. I LOVE following accounts that give me inspiration and education yet keep it very real! Here are just a few great ones that are inspirational, aspirational, fun, and run by incredible role models:
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Along with accounts like these, there are incredible support networks that older children can turn to. These help them feel mentally and physically included and more importantly, not alone. We know that teens prefer to listen to their own peer groups. There are more and more accounts that cross-discuss so many topics like mental health, wellness, fashion and fitness. This is a great thing. Gone are the days of only having the option of sitting in a room with an adult that may not understand.
We see children that may be hiding from the real world gain a voice on social media (guided by parents when they’re younger). They’re helping others, following their passions and sharing their experiences, giving them the voice they may not have had without social media.
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I’m a Brand Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Coach and Strategist. I’m passionate about helping you create your brand marketing strategy or taking your existing strategy and applying it to social media! In short, I’m an all round GEEK that specialises in using Instagram for business.
My background was originally in sales and account management. However, in the last 8 years I’ve not only grown my own social media following to over 20k but launched Halo Top ice cream in the UK and across Europe and the Middle East. Yes, there is A LOT of free ice cream that goes with the job!
Along side working with Halo Top, I set up The Goodbrand Collective in September 2020 to help brands who are struggling to translate their marketing onto social media. I help them to not only understand why and what they need to do but also work with them deliver great content, drive new creative ideas, engagement, brand awareness, as well as helping them show their energy and personality.
Thank you Karen – we love this positivity! If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you might find our recent blog on managing teens in an online world helpful too. Let us know if you agree with us about the benefits of using social media for teens and tweens and if you’ve got any favourite accounts that help with this by dropping us a comment below.
Louise & Anna x