The Effects of Social Media on Children
By Angela Barnes and Christine Laird
Social media is quickly evolving in front of our eyes and it is almost impossible to reject and hide from this new form of media. Not only is it an important part of socialization within peer groups but now it is used to market and motivate people to become a part of a larger community. It is undeniably changing the way one communicates and how one finds and shares information. Most websites offer communication through the use of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and many various blog formats. With new apps on smartphones and photography and video made digital, media can be created, edited and shared quickly and once it is in this new digital cloud it is not yours anymore. Through these new advances in technology one can share things about themselves to the world to view, and prior to social media one would have to communicate and share physically. These social media site offer adolescence new ways to access communication and entertainment and the long-term effects are still unknown. For this reason, it is imperative for parents to be more aware of this new media and what it offers both good and bad for our children.
Five aspects of the use of social media:
- not many restrictions on creatively expressing oneself
- easy way to share information
- informal support of other’s work
- general understanding and respect of other people’s forms of expression
- an alternative way of socializing (Chau, 2010)
Positive Effects of Social Media on Children and Adolescents:
There are many ways social media can be used by youth in a positive way. It is not just an avenue for socializing; kids and adolescents can be creative, interact, and learn (Chau, 2010). Social networking provides an alternative way to get students interested in learning with a new and previously unconventional medium (Rosen, 2011). It can also help with “homework and group projects” (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).
Even though social media isn’t only used for social interaction, it is an important aspect of adolescents’ lives. Social media provides an avenue for them to stay connected with peers they have met through school, sports teams, church, etc (Ito, 2008). Social networking can also help shy adolescents have a more non-threatening way to interact with peers because they aren’t interacting face-to-face (Rosen, 2011).
It also provides an opportunity for teens to connect with others who share a similar interest (Ito, 2008). Social media sites can provide a place for adolescents to share their interests in art, music, games and blogs with others (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).
The teen years can be a challenging time, and social networks can be places for teens to turn to for support and advice when going through challenging experiences (Nielsen, 2009). Adolescents who use Facebook have been shown to demonstrate more “virtual empathy” (Rosen, 2011). Social networking can be a positive and somewhat easier way for adolescents to get to know and become accepting of others from “diverse backgrounds” (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011). As well as providing social support, social media sites can also provide medical support. Adolescents can easily and anonymously seek medical advice (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).
Children and adolescents are capable of impacting their communities and even the world in amazing ways. Social media provides them a variety of ways to go about making positive change. Some examples are implementing fundraising campaigns and getting involved in “political events” (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).
Negative Effects of Social Media on Children and Adolescents:
Although there are many positive aspects of social media, the negative effects on children and adolescents are also numerous. Social media can affect the mental health of teens. The level of effect, according to research, seems to go up as teens’ use goes up. Their level of contentment can decrease, and their likelihood of getting into trouble or being depressed can increase (Rideout, 2010). Also, teens who use Facebook tend to be more narcissistic, antisocial, and aggrssive (Rosen, 2011).
Many forms of cyberbullying is also a problem and can lead to the victims experiencing depression and anxiety. Cyberbullying has also been the cause of many suicides in young people (Kowalski, 2009).
It is bad enough that there are adolescents who are victims of negative comments by peers, but many are victimized by strangers as well. Many young online users are lured by online sexual predators (Ybarra, 2007).
Because of adolescents and their parents being concerned about the above mentioned risks, more teens care about privacy issues (Youn, 2009). One problem concerning privacy issues is that many adolescents are unaware of the privacy policies on the social media websites they use (Cox, 2007).
Many adolescents are influenced by the powerful advertising they see on social media sites, and it strongly influences their buying habits. Many of them are not aware that they are individually targeted because the sites keep track of their habits and demographics. These young people and their parents need to be aware of how they are targeted so smarter choices can be made around their spending habits (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).
As with just about everything, social media should be used in moderation. Studies have shown that adolescents and even college students who are on Facebook too much have lower grades (Rosen, 2011).
Carroll, J.A. & Kirkpatrick, R.L. (2011). Impact of social media on adolescent behavioral health. Oakland, CA: California Adolescent Health Collaborative.
Chau, C. (2010). You Tube as a participatory culture. Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 128, 65-74.
Clarke-Pearson, K., O’Keeffe, G., (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org
Rosen, L.D., (2011). Social Networking’s Good and Bad Impacts on Kids. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org
Face To Face Communication Essay
Face to face communication is a growing problem in today’s society, especially with young adults and children. Because peoples’ heads seem to constantly be stuck in the newest form of technology like their iPhone or Android, they rarely talk to people face to face. As a matter of fact, you’ll find that some people feel awkward making small talk with strangers, or even talking to their “friends” in person.
Over recent years, the internet and texting has really taken off, now with millions of people all over the world using technology as some form of communication simply because it’s an easier and faster method to relay messages to whomever you would like. Studies show that one in three teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17 send at least 100 texts a day adding up to over 3,000 texts in one month. (News Washington and Lee University) This does not include the messages sent on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. All of these sites allow the user behind the screen to instantly message or communicate with their person of interest, whether it is a friend or someone they have never met before.
There are many advantages to staying up to date with technology, but also just as many, if not more disadvantages…especially for people under the age of 18. Some advantages include a quicker way of getting things done. Many years back I would be hand-writing this paper instead of typing it, which could cause problems with lack of spell-check, or legibility. Now that we have computers, typewriting is much easier and more comfortable because of the myriad amounts of ways that it helps. Not only is technology good for writing papers, but also for staying up to date for events like sports practices or games being cancelled, or delayed. Now with the press of a few buttons, a group can be informed of changes within seconds rather than not knowing and showing up at the wrong time.
As mentioned earlier, the main huge disadvantage of people constantly on their smart-phones or computers is lack of communication skills. It is very ironic how we can be so involved with talking to friends or strangers over the internet but when it comes to face to face communication, or even simply talking on the phone, many feel very uncomfortable and avoid conversation to minimize awkwardness between each other. Statistically, it has been concluded that most texting consists of small talk, rarely any important information. (GoodTherapyorg)
Another rising internet issue during recent years is cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, teens and even some adults feel more comfortable bullying and insulting someone from behind a screen, because they know they cannot be harmed back physically. Many things have been done to attempt to put and end to cyber-bullying, but it can never be fully contained. Some states have even made it illegal to bully another person. For instance, “Tyler Clementi, a shy 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman with a passion for playing the violin,...
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