Impact of social media on children - Research Paper Example

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The research paper "Impact of social media on children" focuses upon social media has both negative and positive effects on children, it would be important for parents to ensure that their children benefit positively from this platform. The parents need to model good behavior to their children…
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Impact of social media on children
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Impact of Social Media on Children Introduction The use of social media has become a common activity among children in the modern world. Any website that propagates social interaction is considered to be a social media website (Al-Deen & Hendricks, 2012). These social media include Facebook, Twitter and MySpace among many others. As documented by O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson (2011), 22% of these children in their teenage log on to their most preferred social media over 10 times per day while more than 50% log onto these sites at least once a day. Furthermore, of the 75% owning a cell phone, 25% use them for engaging in social media. Therefore, social media plays a significant role in shaping the lives of these children. Whereas there are indications of negative effects of social media, positive effects have also been observed with proper parental guidance. Social media impacts negatively on the lives of children as a whole. These negative impacts result from third party influences, misunderstanding online privacy matters and sharing of inappropriate content among peers (Westerman, Spence, & Heide, 2013). Social media promotes online harassment and cyber bullying. Cyber bullying refers to the use of digital media to relay hostile information or embarrassing and false communication on another person. This, according to the American Psychological Association, APA (2011), leads to psychosocial outcomes such as severe isolation, anxiety and depression. Tragically, it could cause suicide. Secondly, O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson observe “Facebook depression” as another common negative impact of social media on children (2011, 802). According to these researchers, when children spend a lot of time on social media, such as Facebook, they exhibit symptoms associated with depression. With acceptance by peers being critical at this stage in life, the online world could be too intense for the children so as to trigger depression, thus risking social isolation, aggression, drug and substance abuse and unsafe sexual practices. Another negative impact of social media could be access and spread of inappropriate content. A survey by O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson (2011) indicates that 20% of teens who access social media websites have shared nude photos of themselves. Social media encourages child pornography and sharing of sexually explicit images, photographs and messages. Despite these negative effects, social media has also shown a myriad of positive impact on children. First, social media offers an effective platform for communication and socialization, thus enabling children to accomplish important tasks considered to be important to them offline (Al-Deen & Hendricks, 2012). This enables them to stay connected with their families and friends, make new friends and even exchange ideas. It gives them an opportunity to engage in community development activities, enhance both their individual and collective creativity, expand online connections and foster their unique social skills and identities. Social media also enhances the learning opportunities of children. O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson (2011) observe that students use social media to coordinate group projects and homework outside the classroom setting while some schools use blogs as teaching tools. These promote learning among the targeted children. Finally, social media provides an opportunity to easily and anonymously access health information (Westerman, Spence & Heide, 2013). The resources range from information on stress reduction to sexually transmitted diseases among many others. This way, children get information on ways of maintaining good health without necessarily involving their parents or teachers. Since social media has both negative and positive effects on children, it would be important for parents to ensure that their children benefit positively from this platform. Hence, APA (2011) advises parents to learn about social media. This would enable them understand how their children interact with the platform and guide appropriately. Parents should also be encouraged to join their children’s social circles and networks (Diaz, Evans, & Gallagher, 2013). This way, they would observe their behaviors and control them for their good. Most importantly, parents need to model good behavior to their children (Al-Deen & Hendricks, 2012). Exhibiting positive behavior would cause children to adopt similar behaviors and would thus not be influenced otherwise through social media. Conclusion Social media is popular among children. It has been condemned for its negative impact, including promoting cyber bullying and online harassment, Facebook depression and accessing inappropriate content. However, proponents have shown that social media enhances socialization and communication, learning and health among children. To make sure that children benefit positively from social media, parents should understand social media operations and guide their children on beneficial use of the platform. Above all, they should endeavor to model good behavior to be followed by their children. References Al-Deen, H. S. & Hendricks, J. A. (Eds.). (2012). Social media: Usage and impact. Plymouth, PL: Lexington Books. American Psychological Association (2011, August 7). Social networking's good and bad impacts on kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from­/ Diaz, Y., Evans, L. & Gallagher, R. (2013). Anti-social networking: How do texting and social media affect our children? A panel discussion by CSC clinicians at the Nightingale-Bamford School. The Child Study Center. Retrieved 8 December 201 from O’Keeffe, G. S. & Clarke-Pearson, K. (2011). The impact of social media on children, adolescents and families. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 127 (4), 800 – 804. Westerman, D., Spence, P. R., & Heide, B. (2013). Social media as information source: Recency of updates and credibility of information. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 1 (1), 1 – 13. Read More
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