EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON CHILDREN INCLUDING LAWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Author(s) – Mallika Tiwary and Risha
Children are like wet cement whatever falls on them makes an impression.”
The above mentioned quote by Hiam Ginott, a child psychologist elaborates the extent to which Children can be influenced. It not only includes influence by peers or other medium but social media as well. Social Media has more or less become a survival kit for majority of people including Children. The effect of this platform is so devastating on Children that they have made social media a part and parcel of their very existence. The extent to which their lives are dependent on the use of social media like – Instagram, Facebook is just harrowing. They have confined themselves to the small screen that is hardly related to the realities of life including the most bitter and painful realities. The atmosphere of euphoria and alacrity that is often portrayed on social media is nothing more than a sham but the innocent children are tricked into believing these as the reality of life that is not at all true. Children must be aware of the actual reality otherwise they might think of life as an imaginary fable. Apart from this the another major impact that social media has on children is their lack of concentration in their studies as majority of time is devoted on social media. The use of social media has also encouraged cut throat competition among Children and the urge to be superior than the other person is just brutal. Every person is beautiful and unique in his or her own persona and every person radiates an energy that is different than others but social media has made us defy this rule and the effect of which is seen predominantly on children that is the younger generation. However, there are two sides to a coin . If social media is a curse, it can be a boon as well. Due to social media kids these days have acquired extensive knowledge on a lot of topics and this also helps in educating our parents and broaden their horizon of knowledge. So there are certain positive aspects of social media as well. However, the use of social media by Children needs to be regulated so that it does not disrupt their lives and deviate them from their main goals.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON CHILDREN
As discussed earlier there are two sides to a coin. So if social media has certain lacunae , there are positive things as well. Social media has both positive as well as negative influence on the Children . But the extent to which it influences the Children in a negative manner needs to be regulated. The positive and negative effect of social media on Children are as follows:
POSITIVE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON CHILDREN
- Increase in Awareness among Children : This fact cannot be questioned that social media has augmented the knowledge of the kids and this includes not only technological knowledge but general knowledge as well . There are many informative videos and news on social media that have helped in making them more aware of the surroundings . Apart from these there are also certain motivational pages on social media platform like Instagram that boosts their morale and helps them in abandoning the pessimistic approach towards life and adopt an optimistic approach.
- Creation of a platform to express oneself : Social media provides a platform where Children can express themselves . Social media allows creation of pages for various purposes like – education, blogs, poetry . There are also certain pages where Children can create pages related to their hobbies like – painting, photography, singing etc. So as a whole it provides for a platform that encourages Children to express themselves through their art and it helps in their all round development.
- Exchange of information: For instance- students can use it by forming study groups where they can easily share their ideas and study materials.
4. Encouraging Peer Based learning : The Use of Social media has also diversified the ways of learning and one such instance of it is the peer based learning. It helps the students in interacting with one another, giving valuable opinions , feedbacks that helps in their learning process as there cannot be a much better way than learning from one’s peers. It also encourages interactive learning among the students.
5. Unification of interests : India is a Country with varied heritage , culture and interests and social media acts as an unique platform in unifying the varied interests of people . For example they can share their interests through blogs , ideas and games. Thus , it can be said that social media acts as an unique platform for unifying the interests of the people.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON CHILDREN
There are negative influence of the platform on children as well. These are as follows :
- Increase in diversion: As discussed earlier the life of Children now-days is greatly monitored by the use of social media . Social media is a diverse platform where there are plethora of new things that seem interesting . However, a difference needs to be made between what is the right thing to view and what is not as there are a lot of addictive things that is present on the internet that can pose negative impact on Children as without proper education on certain topics they can go astray. So there needs to be a check on the content consumed by the children so that they can use it in the right manner.
- Use of Social Media by a large number of kids : According to a report about 80% of Children in 2012 have a social media account and this number is only increasing day by day with 87% of Children aged 12-15 having a social media account. This number is going to increase in the coming years. This fact cannot be denied that there are certain advantages of the platform however an increased participation of Children in social media would prevent their development in other areas of life like- family, friends, sports etc.
- Devotion of more time on Social media : As stated earlier , Children devote a lot of time on social media which in turn affects their studies. Apart from this it also impacts their personal relationship with their family and friends as they find more comfort in peeping into their phones rather than talking and spending time with their parents. Thus , social media does not only pose problems regarding studies but personal relations as well.
- Increase in insomnia among Children : According to a report , almost 20- 40 % school going children suffers from insomnia and increased use of social media among Children is one of the major factors. Children often surf through social media during the night hours and this also leads to viewing of unwanted sites by the Children during the night. Thus, the use of social media among Children needs to be regulated.
- Creation of an Imaginary World : As discussed earlier, social media often portrays a world that is not real. This has a huge impact on Children as it leads them into believing that this is the real world. They also compare their lives with the lives of the other people so they can show their status online. It has augmented the materialistic nature of the kids and since Children are gullible they are tricked into believing that the life portrayed on social media is the real life . However, the reality is quite different. The reality is that each person has to deal with their own traumas and insecurities but when it comes to posting pictures on social media , one has to pull a happy face. Thus , social media has popularized the so called imaginary world in which everything is perfect and it has impacted Children to a great extent.
LAWS RELATING TO THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
There is need of a stringent law that would regulate the use of social media in India. Section 66 A of the IT act was enacted in order to monitor the use of social media in India . However, there has been amendment with regard to this section in order to monitor the social media law. But this law was struck down in the famous case of Shreya Singhal vs Union of India as it was said that it violated the freedom of speech of expression. However, this act has played an important role in regulating the use of social media. Also Section 69 A has given the power to the government to block any content that it finds unwanted. And the one who is found to be guilty of it is liable to be imprisoned for 7 years . Section 79 of the IT act provides a relief from any liability . It held that a negotiator would monitor certain guidelines and in accordance with it the exemption would be provided. So it can clearly be said that there has been a breakthrough with regard to the laws that have been brought regarding the use of social media. Recently , a new social media rule has been formulated by the government . This has made the rules regarding the use of social media more stringent . It requires that the platforms such as whatsapp would help in identifying the creator of unwanted messages so that this practice can be put in check. Also platforms like – youtube and twitter have come under this radar and it requires on the part of these platforms to take down these unwanted messages as quickly as possible. This acts as a good measure in order to curb this problem. Thus , it can clearly be seen that there are many laws in India that regulates the use of social media and prevents unwanted crimes like- hacking, cyber stalking, cyber grooming, online job fraud etc. Many of such laws has been implemented and helped in preventing unethical practices. However, many of such laws still remains unenforced. There is a need of a proper enforcement mechanism in order to regulate the implementation of the laws since without proper implementation, there would be no use of the social media laws. Thus, there needs to be a proper implementation of he laws relating to social media. There is seen considerable amount of improvement in this respect but there is still need of a uniform law relating to social media and there proper implementation.
Today’s world is a global village and everyone around the world is connected to this network through Internet and mainly social media social media is undeniable because it has became a part and parcel of our life. People are dependent on this platform not only for recreation and entertainment purpose but also for gaining knowledge as this fact cannot be denied that social media acts as a major source of knowledge. However when it comes to children the use of this platform must be regulated as Children are easily influenced and if not properly check they can go astray. So the use of this platform must be regulated as we discussed both the pros and cons of the social media so keeping this in mind social media must be used by Children but its use must be regulated.