As parents, we strive day in and day out to provide healthy meals, drive our kids to soccer practice, cheer at the games; attend parent-teacher meetings at school and teach them to say “no” to drugs and other bad habits. While we are busy covering all the basics of being a good parent, we can be far too oblivious of the effects the social media is having on children.
Kids today are as technologically connected as anyone on the planet has ever been. They have access to social media like Facebook and Twitter and they can be able to chat in real time with their friend who are a thousand miles away. Various reports suggest that about eighty-three percent of American youth use their phones for email, mobile internet and texting. The report further states that these American teens send and receive text messages 144 times a day. If the teens are not texting, they are usually on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where they chat, share photos and video and participate in gaming. The negative effects of being this “plugged in” is beginning to take enormous effect on kids. Because social interaction comes overwhelmingly online rather than face to face, American youth are showing severe lack of social skills. They are often more comfortable with technology than they are with talking to people. They have not learned the proper communication and conversation skills, how to deal with interpersonal situations and how to date and get to know other people behind the screen.
Researchers have found that the middle-school, high school and college students who used Facebook at least once during a 15 minute period get lower grades overall. Many teens usually spend sleepless nights on social media without the knowledge of their parents. The disruption of sleep has had adverse effects on the teens. It has led to cases of insomnia, mood swings, attention deficits at school and increased obesity just to mention a few. These are some of the serious negative effects of social media on teenagers and issues that are arising with kids often addicted to Facebook. With such overwhelming evidence of the negative effects of social media on our children, why then, are many parents not taking more action to protect their children? There perhaps are three major reasons: 1) Parents are unaware of the issues involved in the online connections. While kids are plugged in to social media, only about 40% of parents are involved themselves. Parents may not be aware of their children’s “pages” and don’t fully understand privacy policies and they don’t realize what kinds of public postings are taking place, involving their children. 2) Parents don’t want to interfere in their children’s social lives.
Most parents want their children to be popular, accepted and enjoy a happy social life. Parents sometimes concern themselves with children’s “rights” – their right to privacy and their right to interact in today’s popular forums. Parents want to allow their children to be as connected as the other kids they associate with, and so they tell themselves that everything is ok. 3) Parents are afraid to take a stand. Many of “modern” parents are becoming apathetic to the real dangers that too much social media can present to their children. They don’t want to push their teens away and so they allow their participation in social media to go unchecked rather than make a “big deal” out of it. The problems this new online society creates are not going away and will continue to grow. Parents must get off the sidelines and get involved! Parents have the responsibility to protect their children and be aware of what is going on in the online world.
Investigate and help your child adjust privacy settings. Be aware of who can see what they post, and what is being posted about them. Take with them about online safety. Make sure your teens have plenty of offline time as well. Restrict the times and frequency of online interaction. * Place all phones in the docking station at night where they are required to stay until everyone leaves for work and school in the morning. * Consider allowing siblings to share a phone they can “checks out” from mom or dad. * Create family-determined “unplugged” hours when children can participate in other activities such as outdoor games, reading, talking, playing together, etc. Social media has a tremendous effect on us today, but with parental participation and kids’ cooperation, the effects can be positive for everyone. http://johnlusher.com/the-negative-effects-of-social-media-to-teena The Negative Effects of Social Media to Teenagers
Do you have a teenager? Do you police their use of social media or limit how much time they spend on social sites? We are pleased to provide this guest post by Agnes Embile Jimenez, a blogger that does work with The Family Compass. The Negative Effects of Social Media to Teenagers
Whether we choose to admit it or not, social media may produce a plethora of negative effects on teenagers today. With the Internet and smart phone, they have constant access to social media networks. Although many parents dismiss their teenager’s issues as part of the adolescent stage, they need to accept the fact that their teens may be going through more than they let on. Here are a few of the possible adverse effects that social media may cause on teens.
Image courtesy of Flickr via Creative Common License.
Covetousness and Greed
Randy is a teen from an upper-middle class family. He constantly uploads a photo of his new acquisitions online for the world to see. Mike is from a low class neighborhood. He follows Randy’s blog and looks up to him. He is bombarded daily by all the nice things that Randy has. These are things that he cannot afford, and he knows that his parents have other things to worry about. He is apprehended leaving a store one week later trying to steal a pair of shoes just like the ones Randy has. While some teens may not do what Mike does, they see other teenagers who have more. This creates a sense of dissatisfaction in them. They are less likely to talk about it to their parents unless the topic is brought up. Negative Influence
Kim watched her favorite reality show on TV. The lead character is promiscuous, catty and prone to violent temper tantrums. She does scandalous things on the show and dresses fashionably. Kim idolizes her and tries to emulate the character’s fashion sense and behavior. She gets suspended from school for starting a fight with another girl over a guy. Some teens may think that certain behavior is acceptable because they see it on reality shows. They tend to follow what their favorite TV personality does. They fail to realize that these shows are scripted. Unfortunately, many do not realize it until it is too late. Self-Hate
Marcy wants to be a model when she grows up. She is conscious of her fitness and tries to remain slender like the models she idolizes. She looks for tips online about how to stay thin. Marcy read about eating disorders and decided to become anorexic. A year later, she looks so emaciated and week. Her family tries to get her to see a counselor, but she refuses. Many girls forget that their favorite celebrities have personal trainers and that most of their figures are airbrushed to perfection. They take on drastic measures to look like the girls they see on social media sites. Bulimia and anorexia are eating disorders that require intense counseling. Many parents may not be aware that their child has an eating disorder until it is too late. While social media has many positive effects, it is important to be wary about what your teens have access to. Being a parent to a teenager might be a daunting task. However, with access to sites like The Family Compass – helping Teens find their way is easier than it was before.
Impact of Social Media on Teens’ Well-Being
A report by Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media presents data from a quantitative study focused on understanding American teens’ perception of social media. The study examined teen perceptions of social media’s role in their lives and its effect on their social and emotional well-being. According to the report, 90 percent of American teens use some form of social media. In early 2012, survey data were gathered from a nationally representative sample of 1,030 13- to 17-year olds to obtain a snapshot of teenage social media use. Survey results were extensive, but four key findings stood out: * The vast majority of teenagers in the United States are avid, daily social media users. * Teens are more likely to report that using social media has a positive influence on their social and emotional lives than a negative one. * Despite social media’s pervasiveness, most teens prefer face-to-face communication, and many youth recognize that social media hinders this interaction.
* A large number of teens expressed a desire to disconnect or “unplug” more often and understand that others close to them feel the same way. This emerging phenomenon has implications in the child welfare arena. The survey reveals that: * Most teens believe that their social networking sites have little impact, positive or negative, on their social and emotional welfare. Approximately 70-80 percent of respondents reported that their use of social media does not generally influence their self-worth, self-confidence, how popular they feel, or their level of empathy felt for others. * Fifteen to 30 percent of teens stated that social networking did have a positive effect on their social and emotional well-being—they reported feeling less shy, more outgoing, more self-confident, more popular, more sympathetic to others, and better about themselves. * A much smaller percentage of respondents, approximately 5 percent, reported that social media made them feel more depressed, less popular, less confident, and worse about themselves. Researchers also examined the perceptions of heavy social media users with those of other teens less active in social networking. Overall, both groups of teens reported a high level of social and emotional well-being.