Highlights from The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Clinical Report—The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
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. 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.
SOCIAL MEDIA USE BY TWEENS AND TEENS
Engaging in various forms of social media is a routine activity that research has shown to benefit children and adolescents by enhancing communication, social connection, and even technical skills.
· According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day.
· Seventy-five percent of teenagers now own cell phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging.
· Thus, a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones.
· Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media
BENEFITS OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS USING SOCIAL MEDIA
· Socialization and Communication
· Enhanced Learning Opportunities
· Accessing Health Information (however, parents can help ensure they are looking at reliable resources online and interpreting the data correctly)
RISKS OF YOUTH USING SOCIAL MEDIA
· Cyberbullying and Online Harassment
· Sexting or “sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital devices.”
· Facebook Depression, which is defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.
PRIVACY CONCERNS AND THE DIGITAL FOOTPRINT
· Children sharing too much information
· Children posting false information
· Children leave a digital footprint, defined as a collective, ongoing record of one’s web activity
· What goes online stays online – future jobs or college acceptance may be jeopardized
· Children can be easy targets for marketers and fraudsters
INFLUENCE OF ADVERTISEMENTS ON BUYING
· Social media sites display banner ads based on online behavior and demographics
· These ads not only the buying tendencies of preadolescents and adolescents but also their views of what is normal.
· Parents should educate their children into media-literate consumers and help them to understand how advertisements can easily manipulate them.