Social networking provides benefits and poses risks for children. Social networking sites have a lot to offer, from apps, games, and the chance of meeting lots of people. These things make them appealing to young kids and teens. And experts say exposing kids to social media can actually help them, but the fact that it can also harm them is also undeniable.
The Bad Effects
According to some studies, teens who use social networking more often show more narcissistic tendencies. Also, young adults who have a strong presence on Facebook show more signs of psychological disorders such as antisocial behavior and manic-aggressive tendencies.
Overuse of social media technology such as the computer and mobile devices can also have a negative effect on the health of children, pre-teens, and teenagers. This makes them more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.
Facebook and other social networking sites are distracting and can have a negative impact on a child’s learning. According to studies, middle school, high school, and college students tend to check Facebook at least once during study periods. This habit was shown to have led to lower grades.
The lack of content sharing control in social networking sites can expose kids and teens to inappropriate content and information.
The Good Effects
Teens and young adults who spend time socializing and interacting on Facebook are more able to express empathy, though through virtual means, to their friends.
Also, young introverted kids and teens feel more able to express themselves and to socialize through the Internet, behind the safety of a computer screen or a smartphone.
Social networking contains a plethora of information, including news, general trivia, and so on. These can help teach kids, not just about topics connected to their lessons, but also general knowledge about the world.
What Can Parents Do?
According to experts, parents who try to monitor their kids’ online activities will not be able to do so successfully and are thus only wasting their time. Putting up online security controls will not work. Children will still find ways to go online, especially given how technology savvy kids are these days.
Experts suggest that the best way to exercise control is through proper communication. Parents have to make their kids understand the Internet and to build trust so that they will heed their parents’ instructions. Talking openly about social networking will also encourage kids to talk to their parents when they are being bullied or they have seen a disturbing image. And one of the best ways for parents to keep track of what their kids are seeing or learning online is for them to also pay attention to online trends.