There’s a new blogger in the Flaimahmy Family! It’s the Little Flower!! For her 11th birthday I gave her her own website!! This was after much debate about whether I would let her have social media. She is headed to middle school and of course all of her friends have social media accounts. I haven’t allowed the Little Flower to have social media because of the research showing how it’s damaging to children. Social media use in children is linked to higher likelihood of depression, anxiety, and lowered self esteem. I also don’t like how social media is used to bully children.
Children/teenagers who use social media are more likely to have perceived social isolation because of FOMO (fear of missing out) simply because they “think” their friends are having fun without them based on what they post. It’s sad that kids are getting depressed over fake “happy” lives. Whenever I think about social media and the Little Flower I worry about her mental health. I want her to be happy, not constantly on her phone checking to see what other people are doing. That’s no way for anyone to live, especially kids.
However, most of all I do not like how social media platforms control what you see. All of the social media companies are biased and control content in a damaging way. The advertising is constant. Stupidity goes viral every day. You are not likely to see anything of substance anymore. It’s just a constant stream of stupidity and things to make you feel outraged. Sadly now most people don’t notice that the content they see online is controlled. This is why I have decided that I don’t want my child on any social media sites. Every time I even thought about her being on a social media site I would immediately think “NO.” And I know I’m not the only parent who feels this way.
However, I have a pre-teen now and I know that being on social media is “normal” and it’s hard to live outside the norm. Kids want to fit in. It’s hard being the kid who can’t have or do what their friends are doing. To children it feels like your parent is the unfair one. The overly strict one. I remember what that felt like as a child. It’s not fun. You have to deal with being on the outside of your peer group and no child wants to feel left out. Children who are on the outside are more likely to get bullied/teased. So I know exactly why the Little Flower wants to fit in and be apart of the digital age just like her friends. But I still have to be a parent and protect her from the harmful things like social media. I know the dangers, she doesn’t. So after a lot of thought I came up with someting better, I gave her her own website!
Basically all she wanted to do was be able to share with her friends online and now she can. The Little Flower has already posted her first blog but she can also share her drawings, photos, poems, videos, and performances! Her content is shared one way so there is no timeline filled with stupidity for her to constantly see or feel compelled to constantly check. There’s also no FOMO because she can’t see anything they post, besides her friends already stay in contact with her by text which helps alleviate the potential perceived social isolation. Her friends can also interact with her on her site by leaving comments. (Her friends already think it’s cool by the way…) As far as safety, there is no identifying information for the Little Flower on her site (she’s using a knick name), there’s no way for strangers to message her, all comments have to be approved before they will post, people who comment must give an email address, and those comments automatically leave an ip address that is visible to the admin (me!) that can be turn over to authorities just in case there is a bullying issue. But the best thing about the Little Flower having her own website is that she has an opportunity to build her own brand and actually turn her site into a business!
The Little Flower having her own website gives her the opportunity to create and sell merchandise. She is also gaining valuable real technology and marketing skills. On top of being able to actually earn money from merchandise she can add a revenue stream from advertising. Her site will build in financial value as it grows. And when she turns 18 I can transfer ownership to her. All in all giving my child a website gives her way more than social media ever could, it gives her a creative outlet, real world job skills, and a revenue stream. And I for one couldn’t be more proud of her!
So please make sure you add the Little Flower’s new site OutspokenYuri.com to your favorites! And please tell your children to check it out too! I’m sure the Little Flower is going to keep us entertained!