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Social Media Can Affect Teenagers’ Real Life Relationships

The increased screen time could also convert to more problems offline, the findings showed

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Social Media can potentially affect teenager's real life relationships too. Pixabay
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  • Social media can severely affect the relationship of teenagers
  • Many teenagers are victims of online bullying
  • More time online can cause problems offline too

Even as effects of social media use on mental well-being is hotly debated, a new study says that spending too much time online can create problems in real life relationship of teenagers and vice versa.

Social Media can potentially damage teenagers' real life relationships. Wikimedia Commons
Social Media can potentially damage teenagers’ real life relationships. Wikimedia Commons

Results of a survey conducted by Professor Candice Odgers of University of California, Irvine and her colleagues showed teenagers from low-income families reported more physical fights, face-to-face arguments and trouble at school that spilt over from social media.

On the other hand, the researchers found that adolescents from economically disadvantaged households are also more likely to be bullied and victimised in cyberspace.

“The majority of young people appear to be doing well in the digital age, and many are thriving with the new opportunities that electronic media provides. But those who are already struggling offline need our help online too,” Odgers said.

Also Read: Social Media Giant, Facebook Introduces Ad Performance Measurement Solutions

Many teenagers are victims of cyberbullying. Pixabay
Many teenagers are victims of cyberbullying. Pixabay

In a commentary published in the journal Nature, Odgers argued that while smartphones should not be seen as universally bad, vulnerable teenagers experience greater negative effects of life online.

“What we’re seeing now may be the emergence of a new kind of digital divide, in which differences in online experiences are amplifying risks among already vulnerable adolescents,” said Odgers, who is also a fellow in Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Child & Brain Development programme.

For the last 10 years, Odgers has been tracking adolescents’ mental health and their use of smartphones.

In her survey of North Carolina schoolchildren, 48 percent of 11-year-olds said they owned a mobile phone as did eighty-five percent of 14-year-olds.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

The study showed that teenagers from families with a household income of less than $35,000 per year spent three more hours a day on screen media watching TV and online videos than teenagers in families with an annual income of more than $100,000.

More time online can cause problems in real life. Pixabay
More time online can cause problems in real life. Pixabay

The increased screen time could also convert to more problems offline, the findings showed.

“The evidence so far suggests that smartphones may serve as mirrors reflecting problems teens already have. Those from low-income families said that social media experiences more frequently spilt over into real life, causing more offline fights and problems at school,” Odgers said. IANS

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Parental Control Apps May Not Help in Shielding Teenagers From Cyber Threats

Teenagers may not be safe from cyber threats despite of the parental control apps

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Cyber threats
Cyber Threats.

Mobile apps designed to help parents keep their teenaged children safe from online predators may harm the trust between a parent and child, as well as reduce the child’s ability to respond to cyber threats, to researchers say.

The findings showed that the use of parental control apps was associated with teenagers experiencing more, not fewer, online risks, including unwanted explicit content, harassment, and online sexual solicitations.

“Parental involvement and direct supervision were both associated with fewer peer problems and less online victimisation for teenagers, but neither of these factors correlated with the use of parental control apps,” said Arup Kumar Ghosh, a doctoral student in the University of Central Florida.

Cyber threats may be ahead.
Cyber Threats Ahead.

“Our findings suggest that most parental-control apps are those that attempt to control what teenagers can do online, but ultimately do little to keep them safe online,” added Pamela Wisniewski, Assistant Professor at the University.

In another study, the team analysed 736 publicly posted reviews written by teenagers and younger children for parental-control apps available for download on Google Play.

They found that approximately 79 per cent of the reviews written by children rated the apps at either two stars or less out of a possible five.

It is because the apps were overly restrictive, were an invasion of their personal privacy, and supported “lazy” or bad parenting instead of improving communication channels between them and their parents.

Also Read: McAfee unveils refreshed cyber security solutions portfolio

The apps also prevented them from doing everyday tasks, such as homework assignments, and turned their parents into “stalkers.”

“Teenagers and even younger children told us loudly and clearly that they would rather their parents talk to them than use parental control apps,” Ghosh said.

By trying to completely shield teens from experiencing any and all online risks, some parents are keeping teens from developing the necessary coping mechanisms that they will need throughout their lives, the researchers suggested.

The results will be presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Montreal.

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.  IANS