Pediatria social-Social Pediatrics

Blog de Pediatria Social

Children and social media

leave a comment »

This is the Editorial of The Lancet Volume 391, No. 10116, p95, 13 January 2018. Worth reading with attention:

Children and social media: minimising risks to young users.

Social media is an increasingly common and integral part of people’s lives, including those of children, despite a minimum access age of 13 years for some platforms. The reach of social media has outpaced research into potential benefits and harms for younger users. To address this gap, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, published Life in ‘likes’ on Jan 4, to explore the social media experience of children aged 8–12 years.

The report is based on digital tasks and interviews with 16 girls and 16 boys in small focus groups with a mix of ethnicity, religion, urban–rural residence, and socioeconomic status. The report examines how children access and use social media, the joys and sorrows it brings them, online interactions with peers, and how patterns of use evolve as children mature from primary to secondary school. Recommendations to improve child welfare are made for parents, schools, companies, and the government.

Children reported that social media was fun, stimulated creativity, and helped foster relationships, particularly with remote relatives and friends; although face-to-face encounters were still valued. As use of social media evolved from game playing among the youngest interviewees to cultivating friendships among the oldest, there was increased emphasis on one’s image and the role of social affirmation and peer feedback, as well as the bittersweet exposure to unattainable lifestyles. Social media also provided discrete access to health information, an important aid to puberty.

The findings should be set within the context of two previous studies by the Children’s Commissioner in 2017: Growing up Digital and The Case for a UNCRC General Comment on Children’s Rights and Digital Media. Although ages overlap, the other reports include adolescents, an important demographic, because a third of internet users are younger than 18 years. Many young users of social media report feeling more natural online compared with offline encounters. Learning opportunities expand for older children, facilitated by social media homework groups. For those who feel marginalised by migration, disability, or sexuality, social media provides access to information and introduces a wider selection of peers. But with opportunities come risks, not only from predators and oversharing but also from social isolation as a result of the digital divide between those with and without access to social media platforms. Furthermore, the ability of social media to mould attitudes, values, and behaviours—particularly in vulnerable people—has both positive and negative consequences.

Life in ‘likes’ sets out a number of recommendations to minimise risk and address the needs of children and their emotional safety online. Parents provide clues to children about use through their own online behaviour, including disengagement and balance with offline activities. Two particular aspects are criticised: allowing children to access parents’ social media accounts, through which they may be exposed to age-inappropriate language and themes, and the sharing of photos of children by parents, which many children find distressing but feel impotent to challenge. To promote online resilience to upsetting posts on social media, digital literacy needs to be emphasised in policies, at school, and in the home. The example of a Children’s eSafety Commissioner in Australia for online bullying is used to argue for a children’s digital ombudsman in the UK. There is also a suggestion that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be updated for the digital age.

Key to protecting children on social media is more responsibility and better accountability from the private international companies that operate these public spaces. First of all, either to provide a safe, nurturing environment for younger users or else to do a better job of policing compliance with age restrictions. It is unprincipled to have it both ways and benefit commercially from the presence of underage users. Second, terms and conditions, seemingly impenetrable to users of any age, should be clearly and concisely presented, so that users with younger reading ages can provide truly informed consent. Third, companies should fiercely defend the right to privacy, particularly for the young. Fourth, as people now use social media throughout their lives, they should have liberty to curate their own material and remove items they no longer consider appropriate. Finally, because social media provide such a rich opportunity to unite generations, we encourage companies to commission, publish, and implement research on how to make their platforms safer, friendlier, and healthier for all.

Obviously, I could not say it better…

for the transcription X. Allué, editor

 

Anuncios

Written by pedsocial

15 enero 2018 a 7:24

Publicado en 1

Tagged with , ,

Responder

Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de WordPress.com

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de WordPress.com. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Google+ photo

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Google+. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Conectando a %s

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: