Most of the news stories featuring social media focus on the negatives, but surely there are benefits too? Here you can find out all you need to know to make your own mind up with our Social Media Pros and Cons list:
- School Work
Social media has surprising benefits when it comes to school work! Through the likes of Facebook, students can create groups and collaborate on team projects, share and edit documents, and discuss homework. Social media also offers the benefit of being able to communicate instantly, enabling the immediate asking and answering of schoolwork questions and easy communication regarding unplanned events such as snow days.
- Friendships and social life
Social media acts as an extension and strengthener of real world friendships and can even be the means to create new friendships. Social media enables children to be continuously connected and makes planning events and activities far easier than chasing people in person. Additionally, the capability to communicate via the internet may provide a more comfortable means of communication for shy or socially awkward teenagers than meeting face-to-face to help them build more friendships and boost their self-esteem.
- Hobbies and Interests
The infinite online network that social media provides means that even teens with unusual interests or hobbies that cannot usually find groups in or after school have a place to share their enthusiasm on social media.
- Social support
Social media can act as a platform to provide support to children and teens with disabilities or social challenges. Communicating with peers that have similar problems on social media, for example through Facebook groups or Twitter Parties, can help them build a social circle for them to give and receive support.
- Distraction from school work
Despite the benefits that social media provide for schoolwork, sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can act as a major distraction in class, and when they ought to be doing homework.
Although bullying existed far before social media, the internet does make it harder to escape from taunts and teases, and it can create more perceived distance between the perpetrator and the victim. Bullying is harder to identify when it occurs online (cyberbullying) and detecting it requires parents to be actively aware of what is going on when their child is using social media. You can start monitoring your child’s online activity easily here.
- Online Predators
While cyberbullying is much more prevalent than harassment by adult predators, it is still a risk of using social media. Encourage your child to keep their profiles private and only connect with people they know.
- Access to inappropriate content
Social media opens up access to inappropriate content published by friends and even through adverts. If your child is lying about their age on social media, they may be seeing age-inappropriate ads such as for adult dating apps, alcohol, and gambling. Online Them flags up when your child lies about their age on social media.
- Less face-to-face interaction with family and friends
A study has found that in the year 2000, 8% of families reported spending less time with each other than in the previous year, however, this proportion increased to 32% in a 2011 follow-up study, in which one third of participants reported that the reason for this drop in communication was due to family members texting or using social media during family gatherings.
- Misinformation and false or inaccurate news stories are widely accessible and widely believed
Approximately 28% of the news people read is from social media. It is far harder to identify the source of a news story via social media and therefore it is difficult to verify its authority. Your child may not understand the difference between an article shared by the BBC and an article shared by a satirical blog. Many people believe rumours to be true purely because it is on the web, and this can lead to false beliefs and the further spreading of inaccurate ‘news’.