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Impact of Social Networking Sites on Children

Info: 5481 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 13th Dec 2019

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Tagged: MediaPsychologyYoung People

Social networking sites offer people new and varied ways to communicate via the internet, whether through their PC or their mobile phone. Examples include MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. They allow people to easily and simply create their own online page or profile and to construct and display an online network of contacts, often called ‘friends’. Users of these sites can communicate via their profile both with their ‘friends’ and with people outside their list of contacts. The rapid growth of social networking sites in recent years indicates that they are now a mainstream communications technology for many people.

Social networking sites are most popular with teenagers and young adults

Research shows that just over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on a social networking site.4 For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among 16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age.

Some under-13s are by-passing the age restrictions on social networking sites

Despite the fact that the minimum age for most major social networking sites is usually 13 (14 on MySpace), 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site. While some of these younger users are on sites intended for younger children, the presence of underage users on social networking sites intended for those aged 13 or over was also confirmed by qualitative research .

The average adult social networker has profiles on 1.6 sites, and most users check their profile at least every other day.

Adult social networkers use a variety of sites, with the main ones being Bebo, Facebook and MySpace. It is common for adults to have a profile on more than one site – on average each adult with a social networking page or profile has profiles on 1.6 sites, and 39% of adults have profiles on two or more sites. Half of all current adult social networkers say that they access their profiles at least every other day. The site people choose to use varies depending on the user. Children are more likely to use Bebo (63% of those who have a social networking site profile), and the most popular site for adults is Facebook (62% of those who have a social networking profile).

Two-thirds of parents claim to set rules on their child’s use of social networking sites, although only 53% of children said that their parents set such rules

For many children, the rules and restrictions that their parents set on social networking site usage are an important influencing factor in the child’s use of social networking sites. Two thirds of parents whose children have a social networking page say they set rules on their child’s use of these sites. Most commonly these concerned meeting new people online and giving out personal details. However, significantly fewer children (53% of those with social networking profiles) say that their parents set rules on their use of these sites.

Attitudes and behaviours towards social networking sites

Social networkers fall into distinct groups

Social networkers differ in their attitudes to social networking sites and in their behaviour while using them. Qualitative research indicates that site users tend to fall into five distinct groups based on their behaviours and attitudes. These are as follows:

  • Alpha Socialisers – (a minority) people who used sites in intense short bursts to flirt, meet new people, and be entertained.
  • Attention Seekers – (some) people who craved attention and comments from others, often by posting photos and customising their profiles.
  • Followers – (many) people who joined sites to keep up with what their peers were doing.
  • Faithfuls – (many) people who typically used social networking sites to rekindle old friendships, often from school or university.
  • Functionals – (a minority) people who tended to be single-minded in using sites for a particular purpose.

Non-users of social networking sites also fall into distinct groups

Non-users also appear to fall into distinct groups; these groups are based on their reasons for not using social networking sites:

  • Concerned about safety – people concerned about safety online, in particular making personal details available online.
  • Technically inexperienced – people who lack confidence in using the internet and computers.
  • Intellectual rejecters – people who have no interest in social networking sites and see them as a waste of time.



Social Networking sites- Overview

A social network service focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Although online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-catered service whereas online community services are group-centred. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks.

The main types of social networking services are those which contain category places (such as former school-year or classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages) and a recommendation system linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with Facebook, Bebo and Twitter widely used worldwide; MySpace and LinkedIn being the most widely used in North America;[1]HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexopia”Nexopia (mostly in Canada);[2] Bebo,[3] Hi5, Hyves (mostly in The Netherlands), StudiVZ (mostly in Germany), iWiW (mostly in Hungary),Tuenti (mostly in Spain), Decayenne, Tagged, XING;[4], BadooHYPERLINK “#cite_note-4″[5] and Skyrock in parts of Europe;[6] Orkut and Hi5 in South America andCentral America;[7] and Friendster, Mixi, Multiply, Orkut, Wretch, renren and Cyworld in Asia and the Pacific Islands and Orkut and Facebookin India.

There have been some attempts to standardize these services to avoid the need to duplicate entries of friends and interests (see the FOAFstandard and the Open Source Initiative ), but this has led to some concerns about privacy.

Although some of the largest social networks were founded on the notion of digitizing real world connections, many other networks as seen in the List of social networking websites focus on categories from books and music to non-profit business to motherhood as ways to provide both services and community to individuals with shared interests.

Typical structure

In general, social networking services allow users to create a profile for themselves, and can be broken down into two broad categories: internal social networking (ISN) and external social networking (ESN) sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Bebo. Both types can increase the feeling of community among people. An ISN is a closed/private community that consists of a group of people within a company, association, society, education provider and organization or even an “invite only” group created by a user in an ESN. An ESN is open/public and available to all web users to communicate and are designed to attract advertisers. ESN’s can be smaller specialized communities (i.e. linked by a single common interest e.g. TheSocialGolfer, ACountryLife.Com, Great Cooks Community) or they can be large generic social networking sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook etc).

However, whether specialized or generic there is commonality across the general approach of social networking sites. Users can upload a picture of themselves, create their ‘profile’ and can often be “friends” with other users. In most social networking services, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked. For example, if Alice lists Bob as a friend, then Bob would have to approve Alice’s friend request before they are listed as friends. Some social networking sites have a “favorites” feature that does not need approval from the other user. Social networks usually have privacy controls that allows the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them, etc.

Social networking sites typically have a section dedicated to comments by friends. On Friendster, this section is called “Testimonials”. On Facebook, this section is called “The Wall”. In the beginning, this was a feature that encouraged people to write messages about the person in the profile. But over time, people started writing creative testimonials back, creating a form of conversation.[32]

Some social networking sites are created for the benefits of others, such as parents social networking site “Gurgle”. This website is for parents to talk about pregnancy, birth and bringing up children.

.com. This social network allows professionals to exchange information, opportunities, and ideas. Professionals are able to stay informed with new knowledge about their field Some social networks have additional features, such as the ability to create groups that share common interests or affiliations, upload or stream live videos, and hold discussions in forums. Geo social networking co-opts internet mapping services to organize user participation around geographic features and their attributes.

There is also a trend for more interoperability between social networks led by technologies such as OpenID and Open Social.

Lately, mobile social networking has become popular. In most mobile communities, mobile phone users can now create their own profiles, make friends, participate in chat rooms, create chat rooms, hold private conversations, share photos and videos, and share blogs by using their mobile phone. Mobile phone users are basically open to every option that someone sitting on the computer has. Some companies provide wireless services which allow their customers to build their own mobile community and brand it, but one of the most popular wireless services for social networking in North America is Facebook Mobile. Other companies provide new innovative features which extend the social networking experience into the real world.

Another social networking feature in a professional aspect is LinkedIn.

Emerging trends in social networks

As the increase in popularity of social networking is on a constant rise, new uses for the technology are constantly being observed.

At the forefront of emerging trends in social networking sites is the concept of “real time” and “location based.” Real time allows users to contribute content, which is then broadcasted as it is being uploaded – the concept is similar to live television broadcasts.  Twitter set the trend for “real time” services, where users can broadcast to the world what they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140 character limit. Facebook followed suit with their “Live Feed” where users’ activities are streamed as soon as it happens. While Twitter focuses on words, Clixtr, another real time service, focuses on group photo sharing where users can update their photo streams with photos while at an event. Friends and nearby users can contribute their own photos and comments to that event stream, thus contributing to the “real time” aspect of broadcasting photos and comments as it is being uploaded. In the location based social networking space, Foursquare gained popularity as it allowed for users to “check-in” to places that they are frequenting at that moment. Gowalla is another such service which functions in much the same way that Foursquare does, leveraging the GPS in phones to create a location based user experience. Clixtr, though in the real time space, is also a location based social networking site since events created by users are automatically geotagged, and users can view events occurring nearby through the Clixtr iPhone app. Recently,Yelp announced its entrance into the location based social networking space through check-ins with their mobile app; whether or not this becomes detrimental to Foursquare or Gowalla is yet to be seen as it is still considered a new space in the internet technology industry.[35]

One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author of Marketing Jive[36], there are five major uses for businesses and social media: to create brand awareness, as an online reputation management tool, for recruiting, to learn about new technologies and competitors, and as a lead gen tool to intercept potential prospects.[36]. These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services.

One other use that is being discussed is the use of Social Networks in the Science communities. Julia Porter Liebeskind et al. have published a study on how New Biotechnology Firms are using social networking sites to share exchanges in scientific knowledge. They state in their study that by sharing information and knowledge with one another, they are able to “increase both their learning and their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained hierarchical organization.” Social networking is allowing scientific groups to expand their knowledge base and share ideas, and without these new means of communicating their theories might become “isolated and irrelevant”.

Social networks are also being used by teachers and students as a communication tool. Because many students are already using a wide-range of social networking sites, teachers have begun to familiarize themselves with this trend and are now using it to their advantage. Teachers and professors are doing everything from creating chat-room forums and groups to extend classroom discussion to posting assignments, tests and quizzes, to assisting with homework outside of the classroom setting. Social networks are also being used to foster teacher-parent communication. These sites make it possible and more convenient for parents to ask questions and voice concerns without having to meet face-to-face.

Social networks are being used by activists as a means of low-cost grassroots organizing. Extensive use of an array of social networking sites enabled organizers of the 2009 National Equality March to mobilize an estimated 200,000 participants to march on Washington with a cost savings of up to 85% per participant over previous methods.[38]

The use of online social networks by libraries is also an increasingly prevelant and growing tool that is being used to communicate with more potential library users, as well as extending the services provided by individual libraries



On large social networking services, there have been growing concerns about users giving out too much personal information and the threat of sexual predators. Users of these services also need to be aware of data theft or viruses. However, large services, such as MySpace and Netlog, often work with law enforcement to try to prevent such incidents.[citation needed]

In addition, there is a perceived privacy threat in relation to placing too much personal information in the hands of large corporations or governmental bodies, allowing a profile to be produced on an individual’s behaviour on which decisions, detrimental to an individual, may be taken.

Furthermore, there is an issue over the control of data€”information that was altered or removed by the user may in fact be retained and/or passed to 3rd parties. This danger was highlighted when the controversial social networking site Quechup harvested e-mail addresses from users’ e-mail accounts for use in a spamming operation.[43]

In medical and scientific research, asking subjects for information about their behaviors is normally strictly scrutinized by institutional review boards, for example, to ensure that adolescents and their parents have informed consent. It is not clear whether the same rules apply to researchers who collect data from social networking sites. These sites often contain a great deal of data that is hard to obtain via traditional means. Even though the data are public, republishing it in a research paper might be considered invasion of privacy.[44]

Privacy on Facebook is undermined by three principal factors: users disclose too much, Facebook does not take adequate steps to protect user privacy, and third parties are actively seeking out end-user information using Facebook. Every day teens go on social networking sites and reveal their most inner thoughts for the whole world to see. Information such as street address, phone number, Instant Messaging name are disclosed to an unknown population in cyberspace. What’s more, the creation of a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc. account is a fairly easy process to do and no identification is required, which can lead to identity theft or impersonation. “For the Net generation, social networking sites have become the preferred forum for social interactions, from posturing and role playing to simply sounding off. However, because such forums are relatively easy to access, posted content can be reviewed by anyone with an interest in the users’ personal information”.

There has been a trend for social networking sites to send out only ‘positive’ notifications to users. For example sites such as Bebo, Facebook, and Myspace will not send notifications to users when they are removed from a person’s friends list. Similarly Bebo will send out a notification if a user is moved to the top of another user’s friends list but no notification is sent if they are moved down the list.

This allows users to purge undesirables from their list extremely easily and often without confrontation since a user will rarely notice if one person disappears from their friends list. It also enforces the general positive atmosphere of the website without drawing attention to unpleasant happenings such as friends falling out, rejection and failed relationships.

Many social networking services, such as Facebook, provide the user with a choice of who can view their profile. This prevents unauthorized user(s) from accessing their information.[49]Parents have become a big problem to teens who want to avoid their parents to access their MySpace or Facebook accounts. By choosing to make their profile private, teens are able to select who can see their page and this prevents unwanted parents from lurking. This will also mean that only people who are added as “friends” will be able to view the profile. Teens are constantly trying to create a structural barrier between their private life and their parent

A common misuse of social networking sites such as Facebook is that it is occasionally used to emotionally abuse individuals. Such actions are often referred to as trolling. It is not rare for confrontations in the real world to be translated online. Online bullying (aka “Cyber-bullying”) is a relatively common occurrence and it can often result in emotional trauma for the victim. Depending on the networking outlet, up to 39% of users admit to being €œcyber-bullied€?.[54] danah boyd, a researcher of social networks quotes a teenager in her article, Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites. The teenager expresses frustration towards networking sites like MySpace because it causes drama and too much emotional stress.[55] There are not many limitations as to what individuals can post when online. Inherently individuals are given the power to post offensive remarks or pictures that could potentially cause a great amount of emotional pain for another individual.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication has been a growing issue as more and more people have turned to social networking as a means of communication.”Benniger (1987) describes how mass media has gradually replaced interpersonal communication as a socializing force. Further, social networking sites have become popular sites for youth culture to explore themselves, relationships, and share cultural artefacts. Many teens and social networking users may be harming their interpersonal communication by using sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Stated by Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University Neuroscientist, €œMy fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment

It is not unusual if you often hear your siblings or your friends talk about the people they have met and made friends with through the Internet as social networking is one of the phenomena that have taken the world of Internet by storm. Almost every Web surfer has an account in at least one of the social networking sites, for these sites are the more enjoyable places to hang around in.


Social networking sites have paved the way for easier communication to your friends, family, or colleagues. One example is that instead of meeting in a certain place, you and your classmates could discuss a school activity by having a conference in a certain site that you are all members of, thus saving you time and effort. Virtual communities are also formed, which are composed of people connected together by common interests, purpose, and goal. People of different races also get to mingle with each other in just a few clicks.

The idea of socializing with millions of people of different backgrounds excites the Web surfers. This is one thing that you can hardly do outside the virtual world.

Communication with distant family and friends. Meet new people, be creative, and be yourself

It entertains you when you’re bored

Social networking websites are a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends. You can post blogs, share photos, use instant messaging (Myspace has its own instant messaging service), make comments and add people to your friends list. Social networkingHYPERLINK “http://www.blurtit.com/q430795.html” HYPERLINK “http://www.blurtit.com/q430795.html”sites allow you to create a profile, where you can share your interests with other users and also, you can make new friends. These type of sites, Myspace in particular, are also used people such as bands or authors to build up friends in order to generate interest in their music and books


Social networking sites require or give you the option to provide personal information such as your name, location, and email address. Unfortunately some people can take this as an opportunity for identity theft. They can copy your information and pretend to be “you” when engaging in illegal activities. Bad news! So be cautious with what you enter into an online networking site.

You could fall into the trap of someone who pretends to be somebody else. For example, they might offer you a job or want to meet up with you just to get your money. This can lead to cyberstalking, where the stalker uses electronic media such as the Internet to pursue or harass you.

there is also the chance of people’s profiles being hacked or identities being stolen

 Another downside is that sites such as Myspace, which allow users to add their own background, are often very slow due to backgrounds taking up a lot of memory. This has led to users’ computers crashing every time they got onto a profile which uses up a lot of memory. Also, because these types of sites have millions of users, errors can often occur.

It hampers the students the most. Students waste a lot of time on the social networking sites. This disturbs their education. It distracts you from your work that is needed to be done.

Social Networking-Stats and figures

The way we communicate online has gone through a sea-change over last few years. In fact, majority of net users spend most of their time on social Media / Networking sites. Even though India Software companies are lagging behind in adoption of social media, others are flocking them in large numbers.

Twitter has been a rage over past 1 year, Facebook has become one of the most visited sites on the web, Professionals are flocking Linkedin and keep their profiles updated.

Facebook claims that 50% of active users log into the site each day. This would mean at least 175m users every 24 hours.

Twitter now has 75m user accounts, but only around 15m are active users on a regular basis.

LinkedIn has over 50m members worldwide..

Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users on global basis.Six months ago, this was 250m€¦This means over 40% growth in less than 6 months.

Flickr now hosts more than 4 billion images.

More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day. 

Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it€„¢s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.

Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100%. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month.

Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.

Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase.

There are more than 3.5bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.

There are now 11m LinkedIn users across Europe.

Towards the end of last year, the average number of tweets per day was over27.3 million.

The average number of tweets per hour was around 1.3m.

15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging, according to Technorati’s new State of the Blogosphere.

At the current rate, Twitter will process almost 10 billion tweets in a single year.

About 70% of Facebook users are outside the USA.

India is currently the fastest-growing country to use LinkedIn, with around 3m total users.

More than 250 Facebook applications have over a million combined users each month.

70% of bloggers are organically talking about brands on their blog.

38% of bloggers post brand or product reviews.

More than 80,000 websites have implemented Facebook Connect since December 2008 and more than 60m Facebook users engage with it across these external sites

Top Social Networking sites in India 2010







MySpace Sites






Literature Review

Literature review

Social Networking in Education

BY Geetha Krishnana

Overall, an astonishing 96 percent of students with online access report that they ever used any social networking technologies, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging and visiting online communities€¦Staggering as the 96 percent statistic is, it is intriguing to wonder what the other 4 percent is doing. Just e-mail and web surfing?Further, students report that one of the most common topics of conversation on the social networking scene is education. Almost 60 percent of students who use social networking talk about education topics online and, surprisingly, more than 50 percent talk specifically about schoolwork.Tempting as this statistic might sound to champions of the social-networking-for-education cause, it may be worth considering that most of the discussions that people have on education could be to do with help on homework and troublesome topics, classical problems that would otherwise get discussed in the college canteen perhaps. It may not mean a new avenue for learning something new – it is just a new medium to get problems shared and solved. That is not to say it is not a good thing, but it may not be much more than that.Nonconformists€”students who step outside of online safety and behavior rules€”are on the cutting edge of social networking, with online behaviors and skills that indicate leadership among their peers. The report offers some recommendations for school board members as well.

Explore social networking sites. This is an important recommendation because most often we tend to condemn something without really understanding it.

Consider social networking for staff communication and professional development. This could well help achieve the previous point as well. It will also serve to integrate students and staff in the networking space.

Find ways of harnessing the educational value of social networking. This is a seemingly motherhood statement, but it could be worthwhile for teachers to consciously think of projects and assignments to be executed through networking approaches.

Ensure equitable access. An obvious point, strengthen the access mechanisms for students to technology.

Pay attention to nonconformists. This has already been touched on earlier in this post.

Re examine social networking policies. Another obvious point, come at social networking as an integral component of the education process, not as a diversion.

Facebook Impact on Student Grades Raises New Questions for Business

BY Lawrence Walsh

An Ohio State University study links Facebook use to lower grades. The study comes as businesses worry about the impact of social networking tools on worker productivity, integrity of their intellectual property and data security. Security vendors such as Websense, Fortinet and Trend Micro release new tools to combat embedded threats in social networks.As enterprises grapple with whether social networking creates security risks and productivity losses, a new study from the Ohio State University suggests there is a link between the use of Facebook and lower grades among college students.According to the survey of 219 students, those who said they use Facebook have grade point averages between 3.0 and 3.5 and study 1 to 5 hours per week. Conversely, non-Facebook users have GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0, and study 11 hours or more per week.The study found that 79 percent of Facebook users believe that it has no impact on their academic performance.

Research methodology

Research methodology

Problem Definition

In today’s era, education is seriously getting hampered through these social networking sites. In the name of connectivity, students and teens are actually wasting a huge amount of time in facebooking and orkuting. The sufferer is none other than them, and the worst part is that they do not even realise it. 80% of the teens and students in India have atleast one active account in either facebook or orkut. So the need of the hour is to find out whether these social networking sites are useful or is it a mere waste of time.

Hence, the research objective is to find the factors that motivates the students to open an account in the social networking sites and thus wasting time.

Research Objectives

1)         To find out whether Social networking sites are a threat or a helping hand for education

2)      To find out the reasons that compel the students to join the networking chain 

3) To find out ways by which the social media can be used constructively in the field of education

Research Methodology

The research design that will be used would be exploratory research

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