The Negative Effects of Social Media on Children and Young Adults

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1 The Negative Effects of Social Media on Children and Young Adults How can we reduce the negative effects of social media on children and young adults?

2 Overview What is Social Media? Social media is defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Background: 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 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. Such sites allow entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years. How is Social Media Affecting Our Society? This technology might be doing more harm than good. It is not only changing how we communicate, but how we interact with each other in daily life. Social networking affects our lives in many ways, including our communication, selfexpression, bullying, friendships, and even our own mental health. Social Media Statistics: The average age when a child begins regularly consuming online media is 8 Even though Facebook s minimum age requirement is 13, there are about 5 million users under the age of 10 About 10 hours and 45 minutes per day are spent online (for 8-18 years old) 25% of teens log into to social media 10+ times per day 51% of children say they ve been bullied online, and 49% say they have been the online bully Only 50% of parents have installed parental controls for their children online interactions, but 72% worry that their children will reveal inappropriate information online 88% of teens value social media because it helps them keep in touch with friends they don t see often 2

3 Overview Welcome to the Forum We are glad you are able to join us to discuss a very pertinent issue regard- ing today s youth. Social media has played a big role in the lives of our children and young adults. On the sur- face we utilize social media to connect with others, but we neglect to acknowledge the negative impacts that social media is having on the so- cial, emotion, and physiological devel- opment of our children and young adults. How can we fix this problem? 1. Education (Information and Research) 2. Encourage and engage young adults and children in extra-curricular activities 3. Implement restrictions and limitations on social media 3

4 PROS: 1. Parents, students, and the community will learn more about the issue. There will be a better understanding of the consequences of negatively using and abusing social media. 2. By educating the public, this can bring all three involved parties together. 3. Educating parents may encourage them to control children s use of social media. 4. Educating these parties will lead to research and subsequent distribution of better information. Why is it important? Approach 1 Education (Information and Research) Background: Researching the effects of social media will benefit the public and society. More awareness of the negative effects of social media needs to be put out there. The community should be educated with trustworthy information. Social media is impacting children s social, emotional & physical development. Possible Actions: 1. Provide information to the schools, the parents, as well as the children. This can be accomplished through distribution of written information, engagement through information sessions, etc. 2. Begin to conduct research on the long term effects of social media on children and young adults. It would be beneficial to look at the social, educational, and psychological effects that social media abuse has on the population. 3. Conduct research groups to gather feedback and knowledge from a variety of people. Bring together small groups of educators, parents, or children and ask them about how social media influences their lives. CONS: 1. Parents and students may not have any interest in participating in these programs. 2. This will require a lot of effort by the school and the parents to successfully host these programs. 3. Feasibility of funding: There might not be enough funds to hold these events to educate everyone. 4. Educators are already spread thin with their work load; they may not have the time. 4. Engage the educators by having them actively promote positive use of technology and utilizing it as a tool for education as opposed to a pass time. Get educators to encourage creativity and person to person interaction between their students instead of having them on laptops looking at screens all day. 5. Have schools provide education programs for parents. Ensure that the parents are aware of the issues associated with the abuse of social media. Have the parents provide a positive influence regarding the use of social media. Also ensure that the children are being educated about the negative effects of abusing social media. Question: What would have to be done with our current education system to make this possible? 4

5 Approach 2 Encourage and Engage Young Adults and Children in Extra-Curricular Programs PROS: 1. Involving students in extracurricular activities gets children engaged and fosters a positive learning environment. 2. Extracurricular activities increase students attentiveness and communication skills. As they participate in these activities, students will also learn time management, responsibility, and other valuable skills. 3. Students will be able to have positive influences from teachers, mentors, and coaches who are guiding them during their activity involvement. 4. Children who are involved in extracurricular activities usually have improved academic performance and increased school attendance. CONS: 1. Not every kid is wanting to be engaged in these activities. They may feel left out or their parents may be forcing them to participate in certain activities. 2. Schools and parents may not have the funding to provide the opportunity for children to participate in these activities. 3. Students may start to feel too overwhelmed with activities and school work, and this may take a toll on their academic performance. 4. Having children and young adults participate in these activities may not be effective because it only takes away their attention from social media for a short period of time. Why is it important? Background: Children and young adults have several options of extracurricular activities that they can choose from. Some extracurricular activities include sports, art, music, or theater. These activities can enhance a child s school experience. By encouraging extracurricular activities, students will take away their attention from technology to be creative. Students who participate in extracurricular activities have outlets to educational and social opportunities that may not be offered in the classroom. Students generally use social media as their outlet to be creative. Students may use social media because it acts as an escape from society. As they focus on developing talents and skills, this will reduce their technology usage. Possible Actions: 1. Ensure there is adequate opportunity for every child to express themselves creatively outside of social media. 2. Create art programs, music programs, sports, clubs at younger ages. 3. Encourage the development of a well-rounded person and take the focus off of test scores and accolades. 4. Create a buddy program - have somewhat older children act as role models and set a good example of how to utilize social media as a positive resource. 5. Portray more positive influences in the media and provide some type of ethics education. Question: What do you think about children who are not interested in being involved in extra-curricular activities? 5

6 PROS: 1. Restrictions will limit the amount of explicit information children are beginning to see at such a young age. 2. Children can use extra time to focus on school work or extracurricular activities. Approach 3 Implementing Restrictions and Limitations on Social Media 3. Children can focus on developing better relationships with family and friends, rather than engulfing themselves in the virtual world. 4. Children and young adults will be begin to realize that there are several benefits to disconnecting from technology. CONS: 1. It would require full cooperation from the companies developing the apps, and these media companies may not comply. 2. Giving restrictions by the parents would require excessive observation and enforcement, and parents may not want that responsibility. 3. Giving restrictions does not precisely teach control, so the children may not fully understand why they are being restricted. 4. Children and young adults may try to cheat the system and try to get around the restrictions, so they might not be effective. Why is it important? Background: Restrictions will be set on children regarding age limit and time restrictions. Most popular social networking sites actually ban anyone that is under thirteen from signing up and creating an account. Even though this rule exists, the websites have no way of verifying the ages of the people creating accounts.these restrictions need to be implemented for these social media accounts. Spending time on social media is one of the biggest ways that someone can waste their time. This is why time restrictions should be implemented. These restrictions need to upheld by elected and appointed leaders. Social media industry needs to act responsibly as it creates and markets content for each audience. This is enforcing our action of reducing negative effects of social media. Possible Actions: 1. Have social media applications restricted to certain age limits. 2. Require a parental signature for children to utilize certain applications. 3. Create time limitations on applications. Ideally they would only work during a set number of hours of the day or at certain times. 4. Have some sort of system where abuse of social media could be reported and after an individual has been reported they are no longer able to use the application. 5. Completely dissolve any applications that have a negative effect - ones that promote violence, racism, etc. Question: What would be a good age limitation or time restriction? 6

7 Think, Talk, Reflect, Act... In this forum, we ve explored three approaches for helping to re- duce negative effects of social media on children and young adults. Though the approaches overlap in some respects, they suggest dif icult priorities for action that would bring different bene its and trade-offs. Please take a few minutes to re lect. 1. Individually, what information and insights did you gain? 2. As a group, where did we have the most agreement? The most differences? 3. What else would we like to learn about the issue? 7

8 Think, Talk, Reflect, Act... As we think about potential actions we might take, consider 4. If we can t do everything at once, where should we start? 5. What steps are the most doable in terms of time, resources and public will? 6. What should we expect from students, families, schools, community organizations and businesses, and ourselves? 8

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