A few decades after arrival of the Internet, came the social networking sites (with a boom). Since then, the popularity of these websites has only seen an upward rise. These sites are popular among all, from kids to aged people. These sites are fun to use, very effectively facilitate communication and thus help people stay connected. But there is not a single website that is free from discrepancies. From problems backed by privacy to the hazardous effects of bullying, there are plenty of other drawbacks that cannot be ignored. Well… all of you would agree that children these days are smart enough to handle electronic devices and are also capable of using the Internet. They are proficient enough to use these sites. On a serious note, kids below eighteen are not allowed to create accounts on networking websites. But the age can easily be faked and thus children sneakily start using such websites. While some sites allow children as users. Conclusion – children are active members on the social media scene. But is networking on the web good for kids? What effects does it have on children? Questions like these have been addressed below.
How it Affects Children
At the onset, let me convey that as far as kids are concerned it has more negative effects. There are in fact very few positives; helping children socialize and finding friends is the only prominent advantage I could think of. Several studies have pointed out that regular and overexposure to these websites negatively affects the minds of children and also hampers their development. The negative impact has been discussed in detail in the coming paragraphs.
If a child spends more time socializing on the web it affects his ability to learn and concentrate on studies. On the other hand, adults are good at organizational skills and know how to manage their time fruitfully. Once exposed to networking, most kids find it hard to shift their focus from these websites. These days many children own cell phones that have Internet access and thus can also access these sites at any time. This can become a big distraction, and research also supports the fact that kids who frequently access their accounts find it hard to focus on studies and subsequently obtain lower grades in school.
Impact on Health
These sites being very popular among children, a lot of research has been conducted to determine how it affects the health of children. And it showed that it does have an impact on the behavior of kids and can give way to narcissistic tendencies, which is harmful. Exposure to these sites makes them prone to depression, antisocial tendencies and aggressive behavior. This can be due to reasons like an online fight with a friend or someone not responding to their messages. Another big disadvantage is that it restricts the social life of the kid and this then affects the development of communication skills in them. Kids hooked to chatting on the web generally do not play sports and this has a negative impact on their physical development.
It is the responsibility of parents to teach their wards the safe use of networking websites. If children are not made aware of the safe use of the Internet, it leaves them vulnerable to dangerous things like cyberbullying and viral videos. It need not be told that viewing such content has adverse and permanent effects on a child’s mind. Parents should monitor their child’s activity on the website and teach him/her about the importance of privacy and the correct use of networking websites and the Internet.
It is not that kids should be kept away from these websites because in a good way it successfully bridges the gap between children and their long distance friends. I would like to conclude by saying, teach your kids the importance of time management, organizational skills and the meaningful and safe use of social networking websites. Spending an hour or two on these websites daily after managing all other important activities will have no negative impact on your children.