This study derives from a developmental psychology viewpoint. The main research question is, "What are the effects of social media on children?" Aspects such as bullying, personality changes, and academic performances are considered. This topic is important because it has yet to be explored extensively. Given the ever changing nature of social media, it is a challenge to keep up with research on how this technology is changing the direction of society. Studying children involved with social media allows a direct glimpse into what one aspect of the future of child social development holds. The main problem explored in this thesis is whether or not social media is currently affecting children negatively. Correlations will be examined to determine who is most likely to utilize social media, as well as who is most likely to be affected positively or negatively by networking sites. Motivations behind social media usage and time spent online will also be studied. This research is important in understanding today's youth, and once understood, parents and teachers can learn to guide children in using social media for beneficial reasons rather than potentially detrimental ones. I have conducted my research by means of a survey, one in which the entire fifth-grade class at Copper Creek Elementary School partook. Results showed that nearly all surveyed students used social media. Differences in social media usage between classmates based on gender and presence of older siblings were found. It was concluded that social media is affecting fifth-grade females more negatively than fifth-grade males. Also, it was found that children with older siblings may be at risk for using mature social media sites too soon. The long term effects of these findings were not explored, and further research on this subject is encouraged.
- Facebook in Fifth Grade? Implications of Social Media on Today's Youth
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