3 ways kids can use social media for good

Although there’s been a lot of talk about the mass exodus of teens from Facebook, social media is still alive and well among young people. The digital natives are simply migrating elsewhere to social networking sites and messaging apps their parents have likely never heard of. While it’s certainly possible and even advisable to follow your kids wherever they go on the web, the end goal for parents is to teach kids how to behave themselves online even when mom and dad aren’t looking. While the negatives of social media (e.g. cyberbullying, online predators, etc.) get the most publicity, there’s a flip side to the coin—social media can be used for good by adults and kids alike. Here are a few ways kids can make the web a better place for us all using social networking.

### Support or Start a Cause

There are many online fundraisers on the web that you or your child can donate to. Even if your child doesn’t have the funds to help or you’re not keen on introducing them to online transactions just yet, simply sharing a fundraiser with their online following via social media can help raise awareness for the campaigns, which could eventually lead to more money raised. Alternatively, you could encourage your child to start his or her own social media campaign for a cause they care about.

### Lend a Virtual Hand

For better or for worse, many kids are turning to social media networks to share very personal information about themselves. Many times, such posts are cries for help from teens who feel like no one in their lives will listen. Teach your child to use social media to encourage others and lift up their friends in need.

### Lead by Example

Kids can use social media to not only help other people, but themselves as well. Creating a positive online presence now can pay off in a big way when it comes time to apply for scholarships, college, and eventually jobs. Impress upon your child the importance of putting their best foot forward each and every time they go online. They’ll not only be giving themselves a leg up on their future, but they’ll also be setting a good example for their peers.

Social media isn’t all bad, which is good news because it’s clearly here to stay. Make an effort to teach your child how to use social media in a positive way before letting them loose on social media platforms. And perhaps most importantly, set a good example on your own social media profiles. Remember, you’re not just observing them online; they’re watching you too!

#### References

Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/10/teenagers-messenger-apps-facebook-exodus

YouCaring http://www.youcaring.com/

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