Impact of Social Media On Child Development - B.Ed Assignment


Impact of Social Media  On Child Development - B.Ed Assignment
For a long period of time believed that the term social media does not have a clear definition, however, when one platform emerged, that gave people an opportunity to be content creators, controllers and transparent users. Once this content is shared, it becomes a conversation, because all users who have accounts on social media platforms can interact with all posts. Social Networking is “the act of engagement,” while social media is the tool used to communicate with mass audience. Social Media is the platform that give individuals the opportunity to interact, using two-way communication; meaning, that anyone who has online accounts can share their opinions with other social media users. There are two types of social media users; digital natives and digital immigrants. Digital natives are the ones who were born after 1980, they came to this world when the digital media existed. However, digital immigrants are the ones who were born before 1980 and adapted their lives to digital media. Social media platforms vary from Web blogs, to micro-sharing platforms, to life streams to social networks and much more.   

The younger generation discussed in this are school students between the ages of 12 to 19 years old. A few of the platforms they use are Facebook, YouTube, Google, and many others. The younger generation are the individuals that will lead our world in the future, they must be well educated to be able to impact this world and make India a better country on the road to success. Therefore, we must know about the different things they are exposed to, that may affect them negatively or positively. 

This write up aims to assess the frequency at which the students are social networking, and whether it has any effect on their academic performance. If there is an impact on their academic performance, in what way does it effect it. All these questions will be answered through this write up. Social media has been utilized in so many ways throughout the years. India is known to be one of the heavy users of social media, specifically Facebook. It dominates 25% of the total ASIA region, having almost 11 million users, even though the penetration rate is only about 13%. In the first six months of the year 2012, India had an additional 1,608,420 users on Facebook, which is the highest number in the ASIA region.

The Benefits of Teenagers in Using Social Media

The social media through its interactive platform enables the users to communicate with other members in building social relationship and sharing information and knowledge related to the needs and activities in the real life. Teenagers in particular, spend a great amount of their time interacting in their social lives. The usage of the social media by the teenagers occurs at the same time with their developing identity, sexuality, and their physical and moral development. Recent studies show some benefits derived by this teenagers as they have improved in their communication. At the same time, they have also improved their social life and emotional life which have a great impact on their development process. Social Media may also provide a supportive environment for adolescents to explore romance, friendship, social status, and it provides teens the opportunity to share and discuss their musical tastes, knowledge of television and movies, video games, and the other aspects of adolescent culture.

Socialization and Communication

Social media sites allow teens to meet many online tasks that are relevant to their lives offline: to lie about friends and family, make new friends, share photos, and share ideas. Social media participation can also offer adolescents deeper benefits that extend into their view of self, community, and the world. Thus, young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing “virtual empathy” to their online friends (APA, 2011). Again, social media sites allow teens to accomplish many online tasks which are important to them offline: staying connected with friends and family, making new friends, sharing pictures, and exchanging ideas.

Enhanced Learning Opportunities

The different studies conducted on the effects of social media sprang from the results that are seen when people use the media and the new technologies which evolved. Many scholars suggest that students learn in new ways using social media; and as such, educators should embrace these new platforms. Middle and high school students are using social media to connect with one another on homework and group projects. Some schools successfully use blogs as teaching tools which has the benefit of reinforcing skills in English, written expression, and creativity. In addition, social media programs allow students to gather outside of class for the purpose of collaborating and exchanging ideas about assignments. Social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students. 

Risks of using Social Media

Apart from the benefits, social media also brings threats to the teenagers. They are at risk if they access the internet under the age they are not allowed without their parent’s permission. The minimal age of internet access is 13 years old in USA. This age was decided by the Congress in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA,1998), which prohibits Websites from collecting information on children younger than 13 years without parental permission. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages that age should be respected. Therefore, falsifying age has become a common practice by some preadolescents and some parents, but this action risks the safety of their children.
According to the report made by the EU (2014), around half of all 11- 16 year old’s has encountered one or more of the 10 risks we asked about. With a recent increase among girls and the younger children in some countries, the changes from 2010 to 2014 suggested that children are experiencing more of both risks and opportunities - in Denmark, Italy, and Romania (and, less, in Ireland). Moreover in Belgium, Portugal and the UK, children are now benefiting from more online activities without an equivalent increase in risk. Therefore, the risks that teens face online are similar to those faced offline.

Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Cyberbullying is defined as an individual or a group willfully using information and communication involving electronic technologies to facilitate deliberate and repeated harassment or threat to another individual or group by sending or posting cruel text and/or graphics using technological. Cyberbullying is any behavior performed through electronic or digital media by individuals or groups that repeatedly communicates hostile or aggressive messages intended to inflict harm or discomfort on others beyond the school grounds and follows targets into their homes. Use of social media also creates an opportunity for emotional distress by receiving threatening, harassing, or humiliating communication from another teen. This is a common threat for the teenager and pre-teenagers. Cyberbullying appears similar in prevalence to offline bullying; and current data suggest that online harassment is not as common as offline harassment. 

Furthermore, cyberbullying can occur to any young person online, and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes such as depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and tragically, suicide. The Monash University found in their study that the majority of surveyed secondary school students (72.4 per cent) indicated they had received unwelcome or unpleasant contact by strangers via their social networking profiles.

Cyberbullying has been shown to cause higher levels of depression and anxiety for victims than traditional bullying. It has also been connected to cases of youth suicide with teens known to engage in reading hurtful comments some days before their suicide attempts. Teens most at risk for cyberbullying are also those at risk of offline harms, such as teens who have experienced sexual or physical abuse or those living in poor home environments.


Sexual harassment encompasses a wide variety of behaviors and can range in severity from degrading remarks to unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault. Unwanted online sexual solicitation is defined as “the act of encouraging someone to talk about sex, to do something sexual, or to share personal sexual information even when that person does not want to”.

Sexting can be defined as “sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital devices”. Based on the studies conducted in different countries, it was observed that this phenomenon is present among teenagers. Point to a discrepancy between the large numbers of children who admit being exposed to pornography, and a significantly smaller number of parents who are aware of their children's exposure to it. Children also report longer hours of daily use than their parents report, and admit more often than their parents are aware of, that they are exposed to some kind of online harassment.

A study done in Washington in 2008 concluded that 20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude photographs or videos of themselves. Youth are much more likely to receive sexual solicitation between same-age youth than sexual predation; and most of these solicitations come from sameage peers who are known offline. In a study of European Union countries, 15% of 11-16 year old have received peer to peer “sexual messages or images …[meaning] talk about having sex or images of people naked or having sex,” and 3% say they have sent or posted such messages.

Facebook Depression

Facebook depression is defined as a 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. As with offline depression, preadolescences and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk to social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for “help” that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors. Teens who use Facebook more often, shows more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania, and aggressive tendencies.

Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens, and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as making them more susceptible to future health problems. Teens who are the heaviest media users, reported being less content and are more likely to report that they get into trouble a lot, are often sad or unhappy, and are often bored.

Privacy Concerns and the Digital Footprint

Today, the main risk faced by preadolescences and adolescents online 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 This kind of behaviors puts their privacy at risk. When Internet users visit various Websites, 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 that of their digital footprint and future reputations. Preadolescences and adolescents who lack an awareness of privacy issues often post inappropriate messages, pictures, and videos without understanding that “what goes online stays”. As a result, future jobs and college acceptance may be put into jeopardy by inexperienced and rash clicks of the mouse.

Teenagers and Social Media Usage

20 teenager of age 11-16 years old were interviewed for a research article. They are using social media regularly and at the end of the day, they counted nearly 3 hours of navigation on social media. 99% of them access their Facebook account every day and they also make two or three accesses per day. 65 percent of these teenagers use YouTube for music and other videos. 30 percent of them play online games and 10 percent of them read information from Wikipedia. All these teenagers use social media especially Facebook to connect and communicate with friends and to make new connections with unknown people. Majority of the teenagers participating in the interviews made online communication with unknown people in different ways: in their inbox, poke option, likes and comments in the statuses, photos etc. 

Furthermore, 70 percent of them used social media to share materials use for the learning process. The materials shared between them generally are links that helps them develop their learning skills, share their homework, obtain consultancy about their lesson problems, listen to tutorials on YouTube, and communicate in a foreign language by practicing it. Some of them use social media to read information about any pathology or any health problem as a result of curiosity about the health problems of others.  The disturbing fact is that these teenagers felt threatened by the usage of social media. Three of them confessed that they were threatened and harassed by unknown people in their online communication. 10 percent of them accepted that they shared sexual content with known and unknown people. All of them were uninformed about the digital tracks and were not careful about the information they shared online. They shared a lot of personal information about their life, address, and location. Only one of them admitted that he experienced Facebook depression. He wanted to stay long online on Facebook and had no desire to communicate with his nearby friends and family. 


Based on the statement cited in this write up, we come to the conclusion that social media is a very important platform in the daily life of the teenagers. They benefit by increasing the communication skills with friends and relatives and they can develop their socialization process more. Also, we can say that the teenagers were able to use social media to obtain information about topics like health, education, and to increase the technical skills using the last technologies.

Consequently, various forms of social media have changed the ways the teenagers talk, learn, and think. On the other hand, teenagers are in danger of Facebook depression, cyber bullying, and online sexual harassment. It must be stressed that the benefits and risks of teenagers in the usage of social media have a significant impact in their physical and psychological development.  It is necessary to create parents and teachers “awareness” on the risks faced by per-teenagers and teenagers on social media.

Reference : European Scientific Journal May 2015 edition vol.11, No.13 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431