A survey of recent research presented at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting suggested that children who use social networks--a growing majority--face both emotional benefits and detriments from their screen time. CNN.com reports:
On the plus side: In a world full of distractions, social networking and technology can provide tools for teaching in a way that engages and captivates young minds. Online social networking can also help young people learn how to socialize with their peers; users also show more "virtual empathy."
"It's almost like social networks are training wheels for life in a lot of ways - it teaches you to express empathy and see how people respond," [psychology professor Larry] Rosen said. "It teaches you to also just develop your sense of self of who you are. You float things out on a wall post on Facebook and then sit back and look at the comments that you get. It's a place where you can grow and develop."
However, the downside is becoming apparent, too. According to studies, middle school, high school and college students looking at Facebook at least one time during a 15-minute study break made lower grades. In addition, many young Facebook users show more tendencies to be narcissistic.
"It's a continual onset of I, me, mine," he said. "Your comments back and forth to people all reflect on you, not them."
The new research suggests that overuse of media and technology can negatively affect health of children and teens, especially with psychological disorders- making users more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
"Everything you do on social networks, you're doing behind the safety of a screen," he said. "You're not paying attention...there's a real flesh and blood human being at the other end of cyberspace and your words might have consequences for that person."
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