Is Your Kid Addicted to Online Friendship?

Online friendships are easy; they don’t need any meetings, commitment, or loyalty. So, it is one of the main reasons young ones are totally addicted to it. 

There are so many sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, Gaming sites, etc., which kids use to make new friends. Nowadays, there are websites especially dedicated to helping you build new online friendships.

Online friendships are often built as a result of boredom, and most of the time, these kinds of friendships are casual. 

But some online friendships can be genuine. Some people find people with the same interest and build a beautiful bond through the internet. 

Sometimes, online friendships can be of great benefit. You can actually find a good friend, companion, guide in the person you met online. 

However, you should be smart enough to understand what kind of a person you’re talking to. You cannot ignore the fact that online friendship also has an adverse side. As you have not met your online friend personally, so blindly trusting them might not be a good idea. 

Dark Sides of Online Friendship

Friendship in this virtual world has its own merits and demerits. There are way fewer merits than demerits, especially when it comes to kids. 

Kids are naive and innocent; they don’t have proper knowledge about people’s intentions. Thus, it is crucial for you to be aware of your kids on the internet’s dark sides. Here, I’ve listed a few of them:

People May Not Be Trustworthy:

You cannot completely trust the people you met through the internet. There may be totally different sides to them than they try to show. They may lie about their age, personalities, and many other things. 

There may be a hidden evil motive behind the friendly nature. You may never know the person’s exact nature and their motive of being a friend with you when it comes to online friendship. 

Hence, it would be best to teach your kids’ not to trust people they met online.

Probability of Fake Account:

There are so many frauds who use other’s identities as theirs. They may try to lure your kids with sweet words and then blackmail them after sharing their personal information with their online friends.

They may also use your kids’ as their soft target to bully your child, criticize them or pass negative comments to them. These people can be spammers or hackers. 

May Get Exposed to Inappropriate Content:

You never know who your kids are talking to when it comes to online friendships. You may be a kid thinking that you’re talking to someone of your own age. But they may be adults. 

They may introduce your kids to things that can be harmful to them. Therefore, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Likewise, there is an uncountable number of risks with online friendships and the online world in general, especially when it comes to kids. 

Kids can be easily manipulated into sharing their personal stuff. And that can be used against your kids to blackmail them, harass your child and scar them for their entire life.

Precautions to Save Your Child From the Disadvantages of Online Friendship

  • Ensure that your kids have enabled privacy settings, and no strangers can contact them without their permission.
  • Check-in regularly with you about whom they’re talking to and what they’re doing online.
  • Educate your kids regarding not sharing any personal information with strangers.
  • Aware them of the harmful consequences of trusting people they’ve met online.

How to Make Online Friends a Safe Way?

As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to make friends online who are genuine, but it is impossible. We cannot stop our kids from talking to people online or making friends online. 

But we can definitely tell them to make online friends wisely. Here, I’ve mentioned how your kids can make genuine online friends:

Select the Appropriate Websites:

Nowadays, there are many apps and websites specially made to form friendships. But among them, some may be safe, and some may not be. Thereby, before letting your kids join the apps and put out their personal information, you’ve to research those apps. 

Do not blindly follow whatever is on the internet. Research about it, check the ratings, read the comments carefully before going ahead with it.

Limit Your Personal Information:

Whenever your kids join any app, they’ve filled it up with their personal information and add a short bio about themself. This information can project a certain impression about them, their likes, dislikes, interests, etc. 

So, it is always better not to go overboard with this information. It is preferable to limit sharing their personal details. 

Also, it would help if you tell your kids not to share their addresses with their online friends. While chatting with anyone from those applications, it is better to turn off their GPS.

Teach your kids to be careful about the details they’re sharing with their online friends. 

Do the Research:

Before talking to anyone online, it is always better to encourage your kids to do some background checks on them. Ask them to go to their online friends’ social media accounts and check whether they’re legitimate or not. 

In this generation, social media tells a lot about a person. You can also determine whether the things they’re claiming are true or not. 

So, to save your kids’ from future trouble, always encourage them to do a little research about that person.

Meet Your Online Friend in a Public Place:

This advice is especially to parents whose kids love to make new online friends and meet them. 

It is impossible to trust people you haven’t met even once. Hence, it is better to meet them in a crowded area rather than in private places.

For additional precautions, try to invite one or two of your friends as well. Don’t go to any places you’re unfamiliar with and carry pepper spray for a worst-case scenario. 

Trust Your Guts:

This may seem like an old idea, but it is always better to go with your basic instincts when it comes to these things. When your kids talk to someone, if they feel even a tiny bit of uneasiness, ask them to back off that situation.

Your kids may be subconsciously picking up warning signs about that person. So, it is always better to go with what they feel internal.

Conclusion

You cannot keep your young kids away from exploring the internet. All that requires is a little caution and safety. 

Even if your children are into online friendships, then that is not bad. But make sure what kind of people they’re friends with. 

Online friendships are easy and can be a cool way to stay connected and make new friends but only if used properly. 

Therefore, the parents should constantly monitor their kids but not try to keep them away from all the latest technologies.

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