August 28th, 2013
The Growing Effects Of social Networking on Children
Over the last few years a new evolution in media and networking called social networking has slowly been trending its way to the main stream populous. It started as most new trendy or “cool” tech savvy innovations have started, on college campuses. As most trends started on campuses from fashion to ideas, social networking quickly found its way as the next cool fad. However, like most things in this world, too much of one thing is usually bad, especially when it comes to uninformed children. Recent events involving bullying has carried over from the school to the internet (online bullying), online predators and other dangerous individuals using these sites to contact children have raised concerns about the safety of these web pages. The lack of knowledge of parents about their children’s interactions on these sites and the kids limited understanding of the dangers of the internet; social networking is negatively affecting children both psychologically and socially.
Social networking sites can be defined as web-based services “that allow individuals to 1) create a public or semi-public profile within a regulated system, 2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and 3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (Boyd & Ellison 1) . The way in which these things are accomplished varies from site to site. It is said that sites such as Myspace and Facebook would be better classified as social network sites, rather than social networking sites in particular in the case with teens. Through social networking, the world has seemed to become smaller and more interconnected for better or for worse. Over 60% of U.S. households now have a personal computer and over 50% have internet access (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2002). Though people use the internet for many purposes, interpersonal communication is the most important, in the sense that it is the most popular (Kraut & Kiesler, 2003). Though it is called social networking, these sites do not necessarily lead to involvement in larger social groups, better relationships with online partners, or the positive psychological outcomes generally associated with social engagement. In fact, it is said that people who use social networking sites a great deal have larger increases in daily life stress. The internet often introduces more activities and social obligations into users’ lives, and the increased time and pressures add stress (Kraut & Kiesler, 2003). Social networking may be moving to the forefront of Internet communication, but it is hardly new. Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter all have had predecessors before them and will see copycats in years to come. However, the reason for the continued success of these sites has been their ability to tap into a certain audience, a generation that has found itself at the head of the social networking revolution.
Social networking sites allow kids to publicize personal information. The foundation for all sites, which is also the initial draw for teens, is the profile page and the ability for users to add personal information or customize content that others will be able to see (Manimtim 2009). The problem comes when people other than the teens’ close friends and family can peer into once personal and private social interactions because of the public stage that these profile pages are displayed on: personal pictures are displayed, intimate feelings can be expressed, and comments are publicly visible. These sites do more than just allow adolescents to publicize information; they encourage young people to amplify the aspects of their personal lives. Ironically, social networking has its name because it is supposed to bring people together, but it seems to be doing the opposite by creating social and communication issues with its users, especially children. It