Social media effects on children

As technology grows the age of users and consumers drop. By the age of 6 children can navigate their way from interactive online games like Club Penguin and social sites like YouTube or SnapChat. Games like these serve as a gateway to other social media sites as children get older, like Facebook and Twitter. During the time of adolescence, the brain is developing reasoning, perception, and a sense of self. Most reach adulthood at the age of 18 years old and, by this time they have been involved with social media for most, if not all their life. How does social media play a bad role in a child’s brain development and can hinder a child’s personal growth? Social media’s role can disconnect children from reality and this is causing lack of family connections, decreasing interpersonal skills, and impacting emotional development.
 
Social media is causing a decline in family involvement in children’s day to day lives. A child’s first human connection are their guardians, but technology may interfere with this bond. The more time spent on the internet the less time is spent on family. “Social networking allows people to ignore their feelings, and obligations to the people around them.” (Panchal, Babulal Chunilal) As a child spends most of his or her emotional development on social media, it allows them to create the world they can control through social media. For most teens, keeping their parents out of this world is ideal. Parents lose trust in their kids based on the display found on social networking sites, or things the kids reveal about themselves that the parents had no idea about until “discovering” it online. In return, kids start to lose trust in their parents because they can’t get any privacy. (Panchal, Babulal Chunilal) Social media can also take a parents place as a child’s means of comfort and guidance. Instead of a child asking their parent for advice they would much rather go on the internet. To solve these issues, parents can keep a bond with their children by communicating with their children through technology. But, this reliance on technology as their means of communication can result in poor social skills.

Social skills and social status are the relevance of one another, proven by a study conducted in 2016. Children regarded by peers and teachers as highly sociable showed reciprocated friendships and more positive feelings towards school. Teachers also rated these students as more academically competent. (Tobin, Stephanie J.) Peer-to-peer interaction, body language, the ability to control feelings and thoughts can be affected due to a reliance on social media. Social media places you in a bubble that is convenient and “safe” when in reality, it provides a false sense of connection. Good social skills can be the one thing that sets an individual apart from the rest of their peer group. It can help an individual excel in school and in careers, getting them hired for a job or getting promoted. This trait can lead to success or failure.

As a sense of self is developing, a child is already exposed to many different personalities and characters through social media. Children who are involved in the lives of public figures, have chosen role models and have formed a judgment on what they like and what they dislike. Being unable to attain desired personalities or physical traits they are exposed to on social media, can lead to; low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and a false sense of reality. (Kraut, R.) For example, children follow celebrities who have been under the knife to look the way they do. This can lead to a child being unhappy with their personal appearance and can lead to self- hatred. Dissatisfaction to oneself can lead to the individual to become resentful and can be the root of cyberbullying whether the child is the one doing the bullying or receiving the bullying. A study in social connection in satisfaction with Instagram pictures shows that likes on social media affect mood and self-perception. (Tobin, Stephanie J.)

Without a good family connection because electronic consumes a child day to day life he or she will lack social skills from the start. Without established social skills a child can suffer in school and social media can keep the child from wanting to reach out and create their social group. When they rely on social media to fulfill their happiness, a false sense of reality will be encountered resulting in mental health issues such as depression.

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