Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Social Media Has Benefits And Risks For Kids

Social Media Has Benefits And Risks For Kids

From the March 28 2011 Health News Today item

While social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube bring benefits to children and teenagers, such as helping them develop communication and technical skills, they can also expose them to danger and risk, such as cyberbullying and depression, according to a new report written by American pediatricians.

The report, which appears in the April issue of Pediatrics, [free full text] the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), says doctors are in an ideal position to encourage children to use social media in a healthy way, and to help parents and families understand and engage with their use of social media while also monitoring for potential problems….

…The report does much to stress the benefits of social media, such as developing communication skills, facilitating social interaction and improving technical competence. Other benefits include helping young people find opportunities to link up with community activity like volunteering, and helping them attain a sense of identity…
…A Common Sense Media Poll in 2009 found that more than half of American teenagers log onto their favorite social media site at least once a day, while 22% do so at least ten times a day.

75% of teenagers now own cellphones, with 54% of them using them for texting, 24% for instant messaging, and 25% for social media access.

The growth of social media has been so rapid and their presence in children’s everyday life is now so pervasive, that:

“For some teens and tweens, social media is the primary way they interact socially, rather than at the mall or a friend’s house,” report co-author Dr Gwenn O’Keeffe told the press.

“Parents need to understand these technologies so they can relate to their children’s online world – and comfortably parent in that world,” urged O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe and colleagues point out that a significant part of young people’s social and emotional development now occurs while they are using the Internet or on their cellphones.

March 29, 2011 - Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , ,

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