Social media has now been around long enough for us to see the effects it can have on not only us, but our children. Are those effects positive? Are they negative? Let’s discuss the two opposing views.
Five aspects of social media use:
- Few restrictions on expression
- Easily share information
- Support one another (“Likes”)
- Various forms of expression
- Socialize in an alternative setting
According to Angela Barnes and Christine Laird from an article about the effects of social media on children, there are many ways that social media can be used in both positive and negative ways. Regarding the positive aspects, Barnes and Laird state that social media opens the doors for creativity, interactive learning, and the ability to connect with others who share common interests. They continue this idea by stating that social networking can help students connect, as face-to-face interaction may seem more daunting at a younger age.
On the opposing side, Barnes and Laird state that social media may also have negative effects on children and adolescence. The first negative effect that is mentioned is its impact on mental health. They state that “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). Another concerning aspect mentioned is the issue of cyberbullying. With many different forms of social media, come many different ways young adults are allowed to oppress and intimidate those who are perceived as more vulnerable. The difference between bullying and cyberbullying is the fact that children, adolescents and even adults are the victims of not only negative comments from peers face-to-face, but from a whole network of complete strangers online.
The use of social media is a powerful thing. We have found that it holds both positive and negative effects, so the most important thing you can do is to pay attention to your child’s level of usage and keep open communication about what they experience online.