It seems like every kid you meet these days is hooked on some form of social media from Facebook and Twitter to text messaging. But according to the Huffington Post online, recent studies conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) reveal that virtual socializing is having effects on children’s behavior, some good and some negative.
On the plus side, research psychologists have found that “social networking [for children] is much like ‘training wheels for life.’” By posting information and seeing how others react to it, kids learn about other people. And for teens who are shy or socially awkward, social networking can offer a way to learn how to become more comfortable around others.
Scientists also found that Facebook can potentially help young people become more empathetic. In particular, their studies indicated that “people who engage in more Facebook activities–more status updates, more photo uploads, more ‘likes’–also display more virtual empathy.” Preliminary research into this finding suggests that such behavior could “translate into empathy in the real world.”
On the downside, too heavy a use of social media networking (and in particular, Facebook) can distract kids from their schoolwork and they can end up earning lower grades. Also for a few youth too much time on social media can indicate an introversion and withdrawal from their environment.
Good parental oversight of social media activities can help avoid many of these problems. The APA recommends that moms and dads “talk to their children about technology use” early on. While researchers don’t have an exact age in mind, they do suggest that discussion needs to begin as soon as a child gets introduced to technology and continue from that moment on.
At Austin Mobile Computer Repair, we understand the concerns that parents have regarding their children’s use of computers and electronic devices. If you have kids that you want to keep safe, we can recommend or install programs that help you monitor what they’re are seeing, saying and doing online. When you need expert advice on ways to help you help your child navigate twenty-first century technology, contact us!