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-Social Media we need a virtual understanding – Crystal Taylor

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I have to admit I wanted so much not to be a part of the social media scene. Not because I am an anti-social person but because I felt it would take away from the social part of relationships. I also was worried and still to some degree am about my privacy and the last reason I am a bit of an introvert. Twenty minutes into my first social media experience and I was mesmerized.  Yes I was a farmer in well know application and enjoyed seeing what other people were and are up to. I love the connection to people places and things I could have only dreamed of.  It is three years later and I have to admit I am now a very cautious user. You do not know who is watching or looking at your page, your friends your activities. We hear daily about robberies or worse that are a direct result of someone posting a status ex: “ cannot wait to get to the beach with spouse and kids.” Experts recommend save those posts until you are back and they are a fun memory.  They are also recommending you take a vacation while on vacation from social media. Here are ten tips on how to avoid social media and focus on yourself and family on vacation.

Safety of our kids on these sites should be a concern for everyone. I know for me social media is a lot to absorb. I cannot imagine what it is like for the kids coming up.  With anything in a culture that is moving forward so quickly we as caregivers have to have a firm grip on it.  As caregivers we need to understand that while it may seem harmless it can turn negative. Here are two links about kids and social media pros cons and how to keep them safe. As caregivers we need to do our research and monitor our kids on social media that is part of our daily duties.  http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/06/kids-and-social-networking-pros-and-cons/ and  http://soshable.com/how-to-keep-kids-safe-on-social-media/
Some families have decided not to allow any social media. While I respect their decision I still think there is a safe way to have social media in our kids lives. We should be cautious these are our children.  All and all social media is a great way to communicate and it is here to stay. With all changes we must embrace it in healthy way balance is key. I personally wondered about what age a child should be to set up an account.  I found this NPR article that looks at age.
My last link about social media is to a you tube video that gives you statistics about social media and the reality of its power as of 2011.   Do your homework make sure you know advantages and disadvantages of social media for the kids. Do not caregive by guilt if you do not feel it is the right time then you are the ultimate decision maker.

Contributed by Crystal Taylor

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