Over the past 30 years the internet has transformed peoples’ lives – the way people research information, gather data and entertain themselves. One aspect of life particularly altered is communication and human interaction. The effects of social media on children has been both positive and negative.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat - while these platforms facilitate social interactions they come with a level of cyber risk. Social media may make children vulnerable to cyber bullying and harassment.
In this article we discuss the effects of social media on children weighing the positives and negatives of this revolutionary technology.
Pros of social media for children:
Communication - Social media platforms are a great way to communicate with each other, so children can be in contact with their parents, friends, family members and social groups. It becomes comfortable for those who are hesitant to talk face to face, also communication becomes easier and faster.
Awareness - Children are more informed today more than ever before. It is a medium where the children can be updated on a regular basis which helps them to retain information and be updated with current news.
Creativity - Social media can be of great help to children as it provides them with different ideas and material related to their interests.
Interactive - Social networks are a great way to find communities of like-minded people with similar interests. Interacting with people on subjects of common interest can increase knowledge and viewpoints.
Social media can be an influential tool for learning but if not used properly it can lead to the following demerits:
Cons of social media for children:
Addiction - One of the worst habits is getting addicted to social media. Which can lead to spending hours each day, watching videos, photos, and other content posted in the accounts they follow. This addiction disrupts other activities, such as schoolwork, sports, study, and other productive activities. Children can end up wasting a substantial amount of time every day as a result.
Distraction - Regularly checking updates on social media can be very distracting especially while studying. This can have an effect on your child’s school performance.
Affects the mental health - Not only has social media use in excess of 3 hours a day been proven to cause unhappiness and sleep deprivation (Johns Hopkins University, 2019), but it can also lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression when used too much or without caution.
Cyber crime and cyber bullying - Adult social media users are comfortable with the privacy and other preference settings on various websites, but children aren’t all that familiar leaving a scope for the outside world to hack into their privacy. People with malicious intentions are always on the lookout to misuse contact information and photographs of other social network users so it can be difficult for children to be safe in such a scenario.
The various effects of social media on children demonstrate why it is important that children develop good habits while using these platforms. Although, social media opens up a world of social interaction, newsfeeds and learning tools for children, there are also negative impacts which need to be mitigated.
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This article contains general information regarding health and well-being. This information is not intended as advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to advice from medical or educational professionals.