What parents need to know about dangers of children exposure to

What parents need to know about dangers of children exposure to social media

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The social media phenomenon continues to get younger, as more than five million children under the age of 11 have accounts on these various platforms, according to E-Marketer. 

However, about 95 percent of those kids have been exposed to cyberbullying in some form, either personally or seeing it happen to someone else. 

Samuel Hernandez, a counselor at Wester Elementary, said it is simply too early for children to have a presence on these platforms. 

"In elementary, the maturity level is nowhere near where it needs to be in terms of using social media. Being able to discern whether someone is being truthful, honest, or deceitful, it's just not something kids can tell," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said social media is great for networking and connecting, but for school-aged children, there is no upside to having information exposed, just risk for developing anxiety.

"If you don't get a certain amount of likes, it can really hurt your self esteem. As counselors, we see that cyberbullying doesn't stop with one incident, or when you clear that post. Those feelings stay with kids," Hernandez said.

That is why Hernandez said he implores parents to think twice before allowing social media access to their children at such an early age.

"Having those discussions before you give them the iPhone and before showing them social media is critical. Make sure they know the permanence of it because kids don't always think in those terms. So it's really important that we explicitly have those conversations," Hernandez said.

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