Noelene Callaghan           

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The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families

Posted on February 23, 2013 at 5:10 AM

Came across this article. Just fantastic! Its definitely going to assist me with my proposal and research!

 

The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families

Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, MD, Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, MD, Council on Communications and Media

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full?sid=4f54b3cb-d54c-4671-85db-38034f238ec9

 

Abstract: Using social media Web sites is among the most common activity of today's children and adolescents. Any Web site that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs. Such sites offer today's youth a portal for entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years. For this reason, it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents. Pediatricians are in a unique position to help families understand these sites and to encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, “Facebook depression,” sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.

 

Social media participation also can offer adolescents deeper benefits that extend into their view of self, community, and the world, including:

  • opportunities for community engagement through raising money for charity and volunteering for local events, including political and philanthropic events;
  • enhancement of individual and collective creativity through development and sharing of artistic and musical endeavors;
  • growth of ideas from the creation of blogs, podcasts, videos, and gaming sites;
  • expansion of one's online connections through shared interests to include others from more diverse backgrounds (such communication is an important step for all adolescents and affords the opportunity for respect, tolerance, and increased discourse about personal and global issues); and
  • fostering of one's individual identity and unique social skills.

 

Enhanced Learning Opportunities

Middle and high school students are using social media to connect with one another on homework and group projects. For example, Facebook and similar social media programs allow students to gather outside of class to collaborate and exchange ideas about assignments. Some schools successfully use blogs as teaching tools,12 which has the benefit of reinforcing skills in English, written expression, and creativity.

 

Risks

Using social media becomes a risk to adolescents more often than most adults realize. Most risks fall into the following categories: peer-to-peer; inappropriate content; lack of understanding of online privacy issues; and outside influences of third-party advertising groups.

 

Privacy Concerns:

The main risk to preadolescents and adolescents online today are risks from each other, risks of improper use of technology, lack of privacy, sharing too much information, or posting false information about themselves or others.28 These types of behavior put their privacy at risk.

 

When Internet users visit various Web sites, they can leave behind evidence of which sites they have visited. This collective, ongoing record of one's Web activity is called the “digital footprint.” One of the biggest threats to young people on social media sites is to their digital footprint and future reputations. Preadolescents and adolescents who lack an awareness of privacy issues often post inappropriate messages, pictures, and videos without understanding that “what goes online stays online.”8 As a result, future jobs and college acceptance may be put into jeopardy by inexperienced and rash clicks of the mouse. Indiscriminate Internet activity also can make children and teenagers easier for marketers and fraudsters to target.

 

Categories: 2013, Research, Social Networking Sites