Q&A Section – Should you let your child use social media?

This is the question of the month as featured in Issue Number 9

Question: Can social media help my teen? Should I allow my child to use social media?

Answer:

A Note from the Editor:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

While I do support the use of social media to help teens and even adults build friendships, I do want to make sure that you set up guidelines for your child’s computer usage. Giving children a clear set of what is expected of them is important. All too often I will hear how kids put inappropriate pictures on the internet or type things that can get them into trouble. Please make sure you sit your child down and explain how careful they must be when using the computer. I recommend hanging a list of acceptable Do’s and Don’ts near the computer as a reminder.

Leslie A. Burby
Editor

Social Media and Autism

By Quinton Williams

We all know the negative effects of social media, where our kids are exposed to things we do not want them exposed to.  The kids might establish relationships we do not want them to establish.  We could keep going about the negatives with social media, but what are the positives?  Can social media help teenage boys with Autism work on their social skills?  The simple answer is yes.

Teenage boys are going through so many things socially and physically, and when you put Autism on top of that there is a lot to handle.  Each teenage boy is different, just like each student with Autism is different, you may have a child who is mute and you may have a child that loves to talk.  Social media can help in both cases.

If you have a teenage boy who is mute with Autism it makes it very difficult to make friends at school.  If this student is able to have a Facebook he may realize he is not the only one like himself out there.  The student will be able to express their thoughts and feelings without having to speak.  This will hopefully lead to confidence, thus making them more sociable in the classroom, especially if they can establish a relationship online with a classmate.   Not only will they establish relationships, but Facebook has support groups for the students to try new strategies if they are uncomfortable with speaking in front of someone.  This is just one tip of how social media might help this particular student.

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Now you have a teenage boy who has Autism that speaks, but has poor social skills.  With Face time and Facebook, these students will post what is on their mind and may realize they cannot just say whatever is on their mind.  There are boundaries when you speak in public, which relates to manners.  With Face time the student will be able to interact with someone that may have gone through the same situation and find out how they used their manners when speaking in public.

These examples show one extreme to the other when it comes to Autism, but even if you have a student that has some signs of both, social media can really build confidence, which will let their personality shine!  It is important that other people know their personality because this may establish lifelong friendships.

Leslie Burby

    Leslie Burby

    Leslie Burby is the former Editor-in-Chief of Autism Parenting Magazine and a public speaker on autism related issues. She is the author of three autism related books: Emotional Mastery for Adult's with Autism (2013); Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers, Infants and Babies (2014); and the children's book Grace Figures Out School (2014).

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