We often speak with parents about how they feel about social media, so this week; we thought we’d turn the tables and ask kids about their views. After all, it’s worth gaining a better understanding of the people we are trying to protect.
* To safeguard the privacy of the children interviewed, we have changed their names.
First, we spoke to Tom, a 9 year old boy from WA.
eebudee: Do you know what social media is?
Tom: Isn’t it Facebook and Twitter and all that.
eebudee: You’re right. Do you know what people do on it?
Tom: They share information with each other.
eebudee: Do you use it?
eebudee: Do you have a computer that you use at home?
Tom: Yes, a laptop and my dad’s computer.
eebudee: What do you do on them?
Tom: I play Scratch and Mine Craft and I watch YouTube.
eebudee: What’s Scratch?
Tom: A programming game, it’s pretty easy.
eebudee: It sounds hard! What do you think life would be like without computers and phones?
Tom: Not that bad because when I was at Kings Park all of these people were just staring at their phones.
eebudee: And you thought they should be looking around and enjoying themselves?
Next we spoke with Lara, an 11 year old girl from Victoria.
eebudee: Do you know what social media is?
eebudee: What do you think about it?
Lara: I think it’s good, but sometimes I think people use a bit too much of it. I still think it’s a good way for people to talk to other people and meet new people, but it doesn’t mean you can’t just go out and meet new people.
eebudee: Do you use social media?
Lara: Yes I do.
eebudee: What do you use?
Lara: I use Instagram a lot and I recently just got Snapchat as well.
eebudee: How often do you use Instagram?
Lara: Quite a lot, I probably use it too much!
eebudee: What makes you think you use it too much?
Lara: Sometimes I have to do something and then I totally forget about it because I’m just on Instagram. But I don’t think I use it way too much.
eebudee: What do you use it for?
Lara: I mainly just talk to my friends because sometimes my friends have been on holiday for a bit. It’s good to be able to talk to them when they’re not right in front of me.
eebudee: How old were you when you started using social media?
Lara: Probably not that long ago. It might have even been this year or last year.
eebudee: How did that come about?
Lara: I’d been asking for a long time to get Instagram, but when I got my phone, which wasn’t a long time ago, I was allowed to. Getting a phone is a big thing, so I was also allowed to get Instagram.
eebudee: Why do you think your parents allowed you to get a phone?
Lara: Basically just because I was getting older so I wouldn’t necessarily be around them the whole time. I’m almost in high school so I’ll be out with my friends. Also, because my dad was getting a new one and so I got his old one.
eebudee: What do you think life would be like without phones and computers?
Lara: It wouldn’t be that bad. I guess it would be a bit annoying not being able to talk to people when they’re not there – say you have a family member in a different place and you can’t – there’d be no way to communicate with them, which would be hard. But I don’t think it would be that bad without Instagram or things like that.
eebudee: What do you like about social media?
Lara: It’s just fun, say with Instagram, to show people what you’re doing and show other people what you’re doing. I have 2 accounts, one private and one public. One has photos of me and things I am doing, and one is for things I see around the place that look cool.
I started with a public account, and I wouldn’t post photos of myself because I just wanted everyone to see the things I see and it’s fun to just do photography. But then I also wanted to post photos of me and my friends doing fun stuff, but I wouldn’t want other people to see that, because I wouldn’t know who they are, so I made a private one as well.
eebudee: That’s a very smart strategy. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Lara: Probably just for people who are just starting to get it – it’s kind of what everyone says – but just to make sure you don’t post anything you wouldn’t want random people to see.
Kids all over Australia, and the world, are likely to have very different levels of understanding about social media. Naturally, this will depend on a child’s age, the level of social media education provided at their school, and what you as a parent choose to discuss with your child.
Of course, there are many other factors that impact a child’s awareness, like what their peers talk about and do in their own time.
If you want to start educating your child about social media before they start using networks like Instagram and Snapchat, you may like to try our safe social media website, eebudee.com.au, which is in Beta phase right now.
eebudee is an online toolbox you can use to train your child about handling cyber bullying, privacy and other important issues relating to online life. This all happens in a secure online environment, so kids can discover without the repercussions of posting to public social media networks.
eebudee is for kids under 13, their parents, and friends and family.
Head here to learn more. And big thanks to Tom and Lara for taking the time to talk to us about their thoughts on social media, mobiles and the online universe!