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World Impact Development Foundation has advised parents, guardians and school teachers to teach and guide teenagers on the dangers associated with the use of social media.

Mr Dexter King, Peak Performance and Leadership Coach of the foundation, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

King alerted that social media sites have positive aspects as well as dangers that come with its usage.

According to him, statistics has shown that a teenager spends averagely 27 hours weekly on social media.

He noted that the social media plays a significant role in defining social interaction where one can connect, relate and interact with several others from distant places.

He said social media has become a prominent part of life for many young people and teenagers, adding that unlike many adults they spend more time without thinking of its effect.

King said there are subtle daily dangers of social media that are either unknown, being ignored or minimised, thus the need to educate and set appropriate boundaries for them to stay safe.

“There are lots positive and negative aspects and teenagers need help and guidance on its usage, as they could ignorantly go beyond boundaries which may come with lots of consequences later in life.

“These sites become popular and easily accessible, with just a click, they can have varieties of information at their disposal and certainly there are dangers and effect teenagers are exposed to.

“When it comes to technology and teens, the dangerous things they are expose to are cyber bullying , sexing and online predators, which are incredibly damaging and issues that must be addressed,’’ he said.

King listed some dangers of social media to include loss of focus to academic work, noting that teens can get obsessive and addictive to social media which could become detrimental to their academic work.

“The time for their studies is mostly spent on frivolous activities of social media, like chatting, reading news feeds and visiting several links or gaming sites, hence affecting their academic performance.

“The danger of premature exposure, this exposes their fragile minds especially the girls to dangers of online world, such as various fashion trends which out of curiosity they want to practice.

“Teenagers are also often exposed to cyber-bullying which is usually done by sending intimidating or threatening messages through electronic communication, this also can lead to emotional trauma and loss of self-confidence.

“Access to unhealthy groups, social networking sites which allow hate groups to recruit and distribute propaganda, sexual predators who assault victims, and relying on rumours or unreliable information to make real life choices,’’ he added.

He further advised parents that teenagers must be taught to take caution of who they relate with, share personal or family information with on social media in order to groom future leaders.

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