What are the effects of social media on the development of pre-teens?

Two women shaking hands with each other showing effects of social media

Social media has become a part of our lives and has an impact on many aspects of society, including the development of preteens. Pre-teens are getting to social media platforms starting out as young as toddlers, as parents seek to keep them entertained. , when cellphones and easy access to the  There are studies upon studies now documenting the effects of social media on teens and younger generations, depending on the platforms they use, peers, and access to the internet. As a parent, there’s an ever-growing need to help your kids safely navigate the internet, without losing access to information or understanding new tech.

How do internet communities impact almost teens?

Almost teens have access to internet community platforms that offer them a virtual space where they may interact, communicate, and share material with their peers. There are different dimensions of one’s personality that get affected by this access. 

1. Cognitive development –

Online distractions and excessive screen time may cause attention spans to shorten and task-focus abilities to decline over time. This may affect how well they do academically and impede general cognitive development.

2. Social interaction –

Such communities create  connections and engage with peers on a digital level. This can enhance social interactions, allowing them to broaden social circles and develop new friendships. However, it is important to note that excessive reliance on virtual interactions may lead to a lack of face-to-face communication skills, potentially hindering their ability to form deep and meaningful relationships offline. These communities can be in the form of early gaming groups, virtual game meetups, and many other virtual accesses which are considered to now be a part of growing up. 

3. Cyberbullying and online harassment –

One of the major concerns associated with digital networking sites is commonplace cyberbullying and online harassment. Young teens who engage in virtual socialising platforms may become targets of bullying, leading to adverse effects on their mental health and self-esteem. It is essential for parents and educators to remain vigilant and establish open lines of communication to help young teens navigate such situations. 

Right from something as severe as doxxing, wherein people put out personal information in public domain, to releasing unsavoury content using AI –the dangers are many. While these are some extreme examples of bullying, often bullies resort to sending messages, or stalking the victim with negative messages, email and content. They could be in groups, or 1-1 interactions. It’s important to help a child understand what bullying online looks like and help them learn measures to counter it. 

4. Mental health issues –

Excessive use of digital networking sites has been linked to various mental health issues among young teens. The constant exposure to carefully crafted online personas and unrealistic standards can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It is important for guardians or adults, be it parents, caretakers, or even teachers, to monitor and regulate your child’s virtual socialising, ensuring a balanced approach that prioritises mental well-being.


What are the educational implications of social media? 

While digital networking sites have detrimental effects on young teens, it also presents unique educational opportunities when utilised responsibly. With proper guidance, social sites platforms can enhance learning experiences and foster critical thinking skills.

1. Access to information and resources –

Social sites serve as a gateway to a vast amount of information and educational resources. Junior youths usually utilise platforms to explore diverse topics, access educational content, and engage in discussions with experts and peers. By leveraging social sites as a tool for learning, pre-teens broadens their knowledge horizons and develop valuable skills for the future.

2. Collaboration and global connections –

These tools can facilitate collaboration and allow teens  to connect with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. Through online communities and group projects, young minds can develop teamwork, communication, and cultural awareness skills. These global connections foster a sense of empathy and open-mindedness, preparing junior youths for a more interconnected world.

3. Real-world applications and career exploration –

Kids can gain insights into real-world applications of various subjects and explore potential career paths. They can connect with professionals in their areas of interest, follow industry leaders, and participate in virtual internships or mentorship programs. This exposure broadens their understanding of different career options and helps them make informed decisions about future pursuits.

What is parental involvement  literacy?

To mitigate the potential negative effects of social networking sites on teens, parental, or adult guidance and digital literacy play pivotal roles. As a parent,you should actively engage in conversations with their children, discussing the responsible use of social networking sites and setting appropriate boundaries. Additionally, incorporating digital literacy education within school curricula empowers junior youths to navigate the online landscape safely and responsibly.

1. Setting healthy boundaries –

Establishing clear guidelines and time limits for online social platforms usage can help pre-pubescents maintain a healthy balance between online and offline activities. Encouraging physical activities, face-to-face interactions, and hobbies can provide alternative sources of engagement and prevent excessive reliance on online social platforms.

2. Teaching critical evaluation –

Digital literacy is essential in today’s information-driven society. Kids, who can read, and access the internet, should be taught to critically evaluate online content, distinguish between reliable sources and misinformation, and understand the potential consequences of their online actions. By equipping them with these skills, kids of all ages can navigate online social platforms with a discerning mindset.

3. Encouraging open communication –

Creating a supportive and non-judgmental environment where pre-teens feel comfortable discussing their online experiences is crucial. Encourage your kids to share any concerns, encounters with cyberbullying, or unsettling content they come across on online social platforms. By maintaining open lines of communication, you can provide guidance, address issues promptly, and help them develop resilience and coping strategies.

4. Monitoring and supervision –

While it’s important to respect youngsters’ privacy, regular monitoring and supervision of your kid’s online social platforms activities are necessary. You can utilise parental control tools or keep track of yourchild’s friend lists and privacy settings to ensure a safe online experience. It is important to strike a balance between trust and oversight to protect youngsters from potential dangers or inappropriate content.

Online social platforms undeniably have a significant impact on the development of youngsters. It is crucial to approach virtual socialising with a balanced perspective. By promoting responsible use, fostering digital literacy, and providing parental guidance, we can harness the educational potential of virtual socialising while mitigating its adverse effects. Together, we can create an environment that nurtures the growth and well-being of youngsters in the digital age.