Social media and their impact belong to one of the most controversial topics nowadays. In particular, the impact of Facebook is widely discussed among parents, school authorities, and others regarding age-appropriate exposure, Internet safety, and student behavior online. Facebook's effect on society is evident as Facebook remains one of the most popular social media and websites in general for 4-12 graders.
The Effects of Facebook
1. The use of Facebook in communities where school authorities allow it for students can take an excessive amount of Internet bandwidth.
As long as school authorities will continue allowing students to use Facebook, younger and younger children will be exposed to this adult social network all the time. While some five years ago, you could hardly see a 4th or 6th grader having a personal profile on Facebook, now it’s perfectly common even for 4th graders to have an account.
2. Facebook takes a lot of time
Learning the basics of technology usage is a motivating factor for schoolchildren to socialize with others. Therefore, using such social services as Facebook can be really time-consuming for them, as schoolchildren will spend much time on social media without dedicating an ample amount of time to class preparation. Parents have recently voiced concerns that their children are wired 24/7 and are constantly communicating online or just watching some gifs or videos. For many children, such a tendency leads to increased anxiety levels as they cannot be disconnected from the Internet for a long period of time.
3. The meaning of the word friend has changed with the popularity of Facebook
This shift of values and ideas that happened as a result of rapid technological advancement may sometimes put children at risk. An important aspect here is the change in the meaning of the word “friend.” Ask an average schoolchild how many friends he/ she has on Facebook. Then ask how many of them he/ she has met in real life and knows face-to-face. “Friending” has become an automatic process in social media. Most probably, such alterations will hurt children’s perception of such notions as love, trust, support, and friendship.
What is more, children even tend to develop relationships online without even knowing the person in real life. They do not even assume that many of those “friends-to-be,” “boyfriends-to-be” or “girlfriends-to-be” can be fake.
4. Children are not aware that they become victims of marketing
Children and teenagers deny the fact that they are frequently being manipulated online. Their attitudes to different processes and purchasing decisions are being under the constant influence of social media. Their personal information is used without them knowing about it, then it is analyzed, and later they might get some offers online to buy something (which is based on their interests and needs).
5. Children tend to communicate virtually to avoid difficult face-to-face communication
For shy children, communicating on Facebook is a way to seem cool and outgoing. They can better express their emotions and feelings online as they do not need to look a person in the eyes. Nobody will judge you based on your appearance. For some children and teenagers, online communication is a way of avoiding responsibility in relationships.