Apr 25, 2021
Fake Friends on Social Media: Discussions for Parents to Have with their Kids
Are you worried about your kids spending too much time on social media? Are they addicted to it? Is social media use affecting their self-esteem? If this is the case, you should be very clear that it's time for an intervention.
The immense growth of social media has attracted all kinds of people from all around the world. And the cases of online crime have skyrocketed. According to a survey conducted by pew research, 2/3 of the teens owned a smartphone, 75% of kids reported using at least one social site, and 51% of kids reported being active social media users.
Kids also reported their views on the influence of social sites. Out of all kids, 31% of the kids revealed having a positive effect, 45% revealed having no influence, and 24% reported having some kind of negative effect.
Reports have shown that kids who are spending more time on social media are at high risk for a psychiatric problem. And, are also more prone to online harassment or bullying.
Most of the crimes on social media sites are committed by creating a fake social media account. The number of fake Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts is in billions.
Fake social profiles and pages pretend to be a celebrity or an organization to fool their victims. Users of these fake accounts can be hackers, scammers, or attackers.
Apart from professional hackers and scammers, fake social account users can be someone you know. There are reports of crime regulated by friends, relatives, and colleagues.
Many parents know about the problems caused by social media and want to solve them. But first, parents need to understand. what is social media? How does it affect your kids? And what are the ways to solve the problems?
What Exactly is Social Media?
Social media is a digital tool that allows people to share content, opinions, and perspectives online. It is basically like a virtual society, that allows you to interact with your friends on social media daily.
Social media platforms differ based on the type of content. Some of the various categories of social media platforms are listed below.
➔ Social Networking Sites
Social network sites enable people to connect with companions, family, and companies. These sites enable users to share and receive content, give personal opinions, form groups, and join discussions.
Examples: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
➔ Social reviewing Sites
Social review sites enable you to read reviews about visiting sites and hotels. The review site community will help you to choose the best.
Examples: TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Manta.
➔ Image posting Sites
Image sharing sites enable users to create, edit and share images. These sites are most popular among teenagers who want to share and check photos.
Examples: Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
➔ Video-Sharing and Hosting Sites
Video hosting sites enable people to create videos and share them with their community and other platforms.
Examples: Youtube, Vimeo, and Tiktok.
➔ Community Blogs
There are many personal blog sites but community blog sites are more interactive and responsive. Community blog sites enable bloggers to get more audience and also help them customize their content.
Examples: Growth Hackers, Tumblr, and Medium.
➔ Discussion Sites
Discussion sites allow their users to discuss things with one another. These sites enable you to read others' opinions and present your side to them.
Examples: Quora, Reddit, and Stack Overflow.
➔ Sharing Economy Sites
Sharing economy sites will allow you to share or receive resources from one another. These sites enable users to share stuff, rides, delivery, tasks, and money.
Examples: Airbnb, Rover, and Uber.
Why should you Worry about your Kid's Fake Friends on Social Media?
Having friends is incredibly important to your child's health. Kids who have a strong relationship with their friends have very minimal chances of getting into problems. But that’s not the case on social media platforms.
Some kids on social media tend to keep their social accounts private and only add the people they know. But this is not the cast for all the other kids and teenagers.
Teens on social media tend to add as many friends or followers as possible to get more likes and comments. Getting more attention on social media results in to release of dopamine in teenagers, which gives them a false sense of satisfaction.
Many parents think of social media as a platform to get connected with people. But in reality, there's much more to it. More than 20% of people using social media have reported becoming the victim of some kinds of attacks.
Some of the followers may be genuine and may appreciate your kid's posts and pictures. But still, you cannot let your kids trust a total stranger. Your kids can have thousands of fake friends on Facebook and no real friends in life.
Parents are not able to understand why their kids make so many friends on social media. Let's first understand the reason why your kids make so many fake friends on social media. Some of the reasons are listed below.
➔ Get More Likes and Followers
Kids always want to become famous like their favorite celebrity. They can become popular among their friends on social media by gaining more likes and comments. This false sense of becoming popular makes them add more fake friends to their friend list.
➔ Escape from Reality
Some kids are highly addicted to the internet and lose a sense of reality. To walk away from reality, kids accept fake social media account users as their real friends.
➔ Overcome FOMO
Many kids and teens have a Fear Of Missing Out(FOMO). The constant fear of missing out on something, others being better than you, and having more fun than you can fuel your kids to want more friends. As kids don't want to be left out, they add more friends to have a false sense of satisfaction.
➔ Fulfill Unrealistic Expectations
Kids use social networking sites to share their exciting adventures with friends on social media. They tend to fake their lifestyle and try to create a flawless life online.
How to Talk With Your Kids to Make them Understand the Reality of Social Media?
If your kids are old enough to use social media, you can strike discussions with them. As a parent, you need to be ready for a conversation with your kids.
Rather than complaining about the usage of social media, you have to make them understand the difference between fake social media life and real life.
Parents neglect the harmful effects of social media on teens and always keep shouting at them. But this only makes things worse. When kids are not appreciated and loved in real life, they will always find a way to feel good on social media sites and get more addicted.
To overcome social media problems, parents have to be careful and use the most effective control measures. Here is the list of most effective methods to help you control your kids from adding fake friends.
➔ Limit their Social Media Usage
The most effective way to reduce your kid's social media usage is to use parental controls. Various parental controls applications are available online, consisting of many helpful features.
With these applications, you can reduce their screentime and watch their activities on the social media sites they use. And also, you can block the harmful sites they visit.
➔ Teach them to Become Creative
Creative minds can never be distracted. If you support your child to engage in creative activities, they will always remain mentally active and inspire others. As a parent, you should manage your time to engage with your kids and appreciate them.
Creative kids will never try to involve in fake social media activities. They have enough confidence and self-esteem to stand up against these distractions.
➔ Help them to Foster Healthy Relationships
Having one true friend is a thousand times better than fake social media friends. When kids have true friends in real life, they will never try to make fake friends on social media sites. So you need to help them foster healthy relationships.
➔ Seek Professional Help
Social media addiction can cause serious complications among kids. If your child cannot overcome these problems, professional help will always help to solve these problems. There are many professional health workers and organizations who are ready to help in time of need.
Parents should always keep a close eye on their kids. There are many reports of problems faced due to fake friends on social media. As complications caused by social media are skyrocketing, you must prevent the problem before it’s too late.
Both parents and kids should try and solve the problem. One cannot force others to solve the problem themselves. Family discussions involving your kids are the most important way to solve these problems.