Social Media & Its Impact on Children – Part II

In this article, we’ll look at the many ways social media platforms influence students in middle school and how too much time on social media can shape children’s lives forever.

Middle school students are typically between the ages of twelve to fourteen. These tweens and early teens are greatly influenced by the media and their peers. So, it only makes sense that they would be very attracted to the idea of joining a variety of social media platforms and staying constantly connected.

While this age group is significantly more independent and self-reliant than elementary aged kids, they still need a lot of guidance from adults such as parents, other family members, coaches, and teachers.

This group of kids use these social media platforms to express themselves and stay in touch with their friends such as:

With so many options, it should come as no surprise that 90% of tweens and teens use social media on any given day.

How does the time spent on social media apps affect a tween or young teen? The answer lies in the combination of both benefits and drawbacks researchers identify in kids between the ages of twelve to fourteen who regularly use social media.

The positives of using social media by this age group include:

  • Becoming familiar with technology before at an early age
  • Building confidence levels as online interactions are often easier since many kids this age feel awkward in their communication skills
  • Helps build stronger friendships with peers at school
  • Encourages them to express their beliefs and opinions
  • Helps find and cultivate other friends who share similar interests

The negatives of using social media include:

  • Kids can developing a tendency to make too many social connections
  • It puts tweens and teens at risk of forming addictive behaviors and patterns that last into adulthood
  • It can make it harder for them to relate to others in real life
  • It can replace the importance of family as the most important influences with friendships that are often superficial and can negatively impact their attitudes, beliefs and actions
  • It can impact the ability for these kids to be spending time in sports or other activities because their focus is on posting information on social media which can isolate them from the real world

Since adolescents have access to social media by the time they reach their tweens, it’s important to teach these kids how to use social media apps safely.  Outlining rules, time spent, what to do when they feel uncomfortable with an interaction, what information to never give or post are all critical items to teach these young adolescents. 

Even though there are certainly drawbacks to tweens and young teens using social media, these apps do provide a lot of opportunities for younger people to connect, express themselves and learn.