It is important to create awareness about social media’s effects on children. As technology continues to advance, our kids nowadays, become more and more exposed to modern media. Is that a bad thing?
Kids nowadays are very dependent on modern gadgets such as tablets, computers, notebooks, smartphones, smart TV as learning and communication tools even now a school student can’t get by without the use of a smartphone. As long as the internet is available, we can access most of the information we need, including the uncensored ones.
In this article, we will share our view about the social media effects on children, at the same time create awareness for parents about the positive effects, the dark side of the internet and how they affect our children.
Using social media is the most common activity of today’s children. For very young children, they use social media for entertainment, education, and learning. For youth nowadays, use social media for social networking, to search for information, entertainment, and games. For this reason, it is important for the parents to be aware of the nature of social media sites that their children are watching, encourage healthy use and apply parental control on the use of social media on their children.
There is a recent poll stating 22% of teenagers log on to their social media networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc at least 10 times a day. 75% of teenagers own a cell phone, 25% of them use social media, 54% of them use it for texting, 24% of them use it for instant messaging. Social media has become a large part of social and emotional development- they communicate and mix around while on the internet and on cell phones.
Due to children are lack of capability of self-control, as well as influences from their peers, children are now at risk of the negative impact of social media. Any child who is able to read may easily stumble upon websites and material that may contaminate the way they think or act – pornography, violence, profanity, etc. Media effects on children are not to be under-estimated. It is capable of influencing young minds and believe it or not, kids will experiment on what they learn from the internet.
Some parents are incredibly well at using modern gadgets and able to monitor their children from using social media and put it to more healthy use. A certain group of parents are lack understanding and fail to monitor their children in the online world. The Internet has brought us good things but sometimes good things can go bad if we are not aware.
Let us look at the positive impact and negative impacts of social media on our children.
Social media effects on children
Benefits of social media
As long as the internet is available, with a gadget in children’s hands, they are able to find what is going on in the world.
Social networking and communication
Social media is a great tool to communicate and stay connected with family, relatives, and friends. Through social networking platforms, we share our interests, photos, exchange ideas with our friends and family. Previously, we are only able to communicate through phone calls and it is very expensive to make an overseas call. Nowadays, you can even chat face-to-face with family members who are staying abroad in another part of the globe, as long as you want.
During the pandemic, many families members were locked down in their country and unable to visit their elderly. Social media has been really useful to keep them connected.
Information and Knowledge
If you got a question, ask Mr. Google! Nowadays, you do not need a special pass to a library to find information and journals. You can access online information without the need to pay most of the time. The information is unlimited- healthcare, beauty, education videos, and many more topics of interest. You can access it conveniently anywhere, at any time through smartphones, notebooks, or tablets, as long as the internet is available.
Online learning has become popular especially during the pandemic, children are going for online homeschooling. Students are using social media to collaborate and exchange ideas for assignments and school projects. Teachers are making use of the internet and blogs as teaching tools. For very young children, parents are making use of video sites such as Youtube channels to teach and entertain their little ones. There are tones of kids’ education videos and nursery rhyme available to prepare your child for preschooling.
Parents also search and buy products online. The technology has continued to advance, creating a different shopping experience without having to go to the store personally, to get the products they want. Now, people all around the world understand the benefits of shopping online. In the US alone, 69% of Americans have shopped online and 25% of them shopped online at least once per month. Online shopping is growing so fast, the global online shopping market size hits almost 4 trillion in 2020.
Social media has provided us convenient shopping experience. With just a few clicks, the products will be sent to your doorstep in just a matter of a few days or weeks time. You can shop all around the world!
The danger of internet
Parental involvement is important to ensure their children are using reliable online resources and put them to good use. It is time for parents to ponder, shall we continue exposing our children with modern media? If so, what are the negative sides of it if we do not limit and monitor your children’s online behavior? Moderation is the key! Let us look at what are the dark side of the internet and how it affects our children.
Prolong screen time
Even though we know that social media is useful to provide information and learning to our young children, parents tend to use it to entertain their little ones so that they can do their work peacefully. Watching too much TV on the internet, without proper control, will, in fact, have a negative effect on the children.
- Not good for eye’s health
- Addicted to their favorite movie and they lose focus on school work
- Sleep late and can’t focus in school due to lack of sleep.
- Too much screen time, at a higher risk of developing childhood obesity due to lack of physical activities.
Uncensored material & advertisement
The internet world is an uncensored one. You can access all the information online including materials such as pornography, violence and profanity, etc. If your children are happened to stumble on these websites, these websites are capable of influencing young minds and you know what, children will experiment on what they learn from there. Without supervision, movies with violent acts such as rape, torture, and murder can influence young minds which may be difficult to reverse. This includes questionable online video games and certain advertisement that appears even in kids-friendly video or games.
Children may come across these accidentally, exposing themselves to the wrong messages is indeed horrifying. Due to the sheer curiosity, they will find out more about what they learn from the internet- like porn viewing, they may develop a twisted idea of sexual behaviors, and become sexually active at an early age and end up disrespecting the idea of commitment in the future.
Scamming and fraud
The internet is useful for communication but there are people who turn it for criminals’ use. You will never suspect that your children could be gullible enough to fall for the traps. Even, adults are falling into these traps, what more to say children with innocent minds?
Addicted to social media networking and games
Children who are very active in social media networking, find it hard to divert their attention from these websites. This is because they are spending too much time on social media and playing online games. They basically will log on to these websites a few times a day, or play online games until the extent that they lose interest in other things. They are addicted to the virtual online world! They make friends online, interact and connect with them. They find entertainment online and if they are older kids, they are able to buy their favorite things online.
Without proper parental control, this may affect their performance academically, and their lifestyles too.
Affect children’s mental health
Cyberbullying is very common and people are using digital media to harass or sending false information about another person. It can happen to any young people online and affect our children mental health such as depression, anxiety, isolation and even suicide. Social media has given some individuals the opportunity to start or spread harmful rumors and use abusive words that can leave people with lasting emotional scars.
So, what can parents do?
Children need to be constantly nurtured mentally and spiritually to be kept on the right track. Parental involvement is important, to maintain good relationships and communication with their growing children. Constant checking on their online behavior is the key.
Involve your children in more outdoor and physical activities – hiking, jungle trekking, playground, visit a zoo, water park, etc. Spending a good time together in a family will ensure good relationships with your kids.
Social media is a good way of being well-informed about what goes on around the world. Putting it to healthy use will bring lots of benefits to our children.