Poll: Does online social networking harm a child's social skills/development?

I'm on the debate team at my high school, and this is one of the issues we will be debating soon. I just wanted to hear some of your opinions on the topic.

The term "child" here is referring to any person not yet of legal age, so anywhere up to and through high school is the intended target.

What do you think?

Edit : What I think may be important to define is what constitutes *harming* a social development.

Hell no. I have been way more confident since I started posting on forums. Granted, I only really fell strong and/or confident is when I am around technology, but that's only because it's the only thing I'm good with.

As long as they have friends outside their online social life, they should be fine. Total dependence on the internet for friendly interaction with others could be bad in the long run. Like the saying goes, all things in moderation.

As with all things relating to the youth, it depends on parenting. If you let your child spend all day on these sites then of course they're going to lack social skills.

I think for me, it's actually done the opposite. Most of my friends rarely/never see me in real life any more, because they're busy/living out of town, etc. There would be no way of communicating with them if it weren't for MSN/Facebook.

No way, if anything its better than back before MSN of facebook because now you can communicate with friends that you never see any more.

Yes, it does increase socializing opportunities, but specifically we're looking at are any these activities *harmful*?

Like any thing worth arguign about the proper awnser is "requires further research/information"

Generally I'd tell you to do your own damn research, but meh...

Online networking by itself does not and can not harm a child's development. In fact, a lot of our "social skills" potential is defined from very early how, from our very first interactions (research mother and child "Attachment"). The problem, more often than not, is not that the online world "steals" a child away from "real" social interaction, but that something is keeping the child from attaining this "real" social interaction.

This can happen due to several reasons: the child was incapable of developing sufficient social skills and thus feels uneasy around peers (e.g.: an introverted child), or because these peers exert negative pressure on the child when in a social context (e.g.: kids mocking and "torturing" a child because they're different).

In either contexts the "online networking" is never really the reason behind the problem, but merely a scapegoat. The child runs away from the "real world" and takes solace in the "virtual world" because the latter is able to provide something the former could not: satisfying and "safe" social interaction.

It's all too easy for politicians and bad parents to get on their high horse and blame the internet for the maladjustment of children nowadays, but it's harder for them to recognize the real problem has deep roots in their own "jurisdiction".

Depends on what you define "harm" as. In fact, if you say that even once, then your bound to get a response that lets you play the unbeatable "So your saying * is better than *? Why" argument. How it works is, you keep asking that question (filling in the blanks of course) until they give up and say "It just is". From there, it's pretty easy.

Tattaglia:
As long as they have friends outside their online social life, they should be fine. Total dependence on the internet for friendly interaction with others could be bad in the long run. Like the saying goes, all things in moderation.

Lot's of people chat and whatnot with their RW(real world) friends on social networking sites.

No, not at all. Now give me pizza or leave me be, I'm trying to reach level 58 before Thursday's raid against the Bugblatter Lich Lord of Grue!

He probely means that its healthly as an extention of yoru social net work but unhealthly if its the base for all of your social interaction.

I 'ignore' my 'real' friends. Then they go adding me on facebook so I have to ignore them there too. I tell you the internet doesnt make being a mysanthrope easy :-D

what about people with social difficultys like Aspergers? wouldent social networking be benificial?

Lazzi:
He probely means that its healthly as an extention of yoru social net work but unhealthly if its the base for all of your social interaction.

Yup, pretty much.

Yes.

/thread

Oh you want reasons? While as noted it is a symptom primarily and not a cause that doesn't mean it's good. Online socializing is powerful because it allows people to filter out people that annoy them, but tolerance is an important social skill that you will never learn unless you have to tolerate people who annoy you. So much of human communication is lost online it's not funny, so it offers interaction without intimacy. It damages local communities as well, do you know everyone in your neighborhood? Are you on speaking terms with them?
Social networking is a tool humanity was never designed to have, like many parts of modern society. But it isn't going anywhere and we need to adapt to it regardless.

Bright_Raven:
what about people with social difficultys like Aspergers? wouldent social networking be benificial?

No the best way to teach someone social skills is to drop them into social situations. Real interaction with annoyance and intimacy is what is beneficial. Not safe interaction without intimacy.

Now back to being an asocial introvert.

I voted maybe, because I'm not sure that they've been around long enough to have a quantative collection of data. In some cases, I think it might harm them, but in others, they could end up just fine. I guess we'll see...

Not sure about whether it damages their social skills (although how you're supposed to develop them using just the words someone types, I thought you needed body language, tone of voice and facial expression for genuine social interaction?), I do believe it has a negative impact on their written communication skills. Despite the thoughts of younger generations, the spelling of a word, as well as correct punctuation and grammar do make a major difference.

So I did the debate tonight. I mentioned the points brought up here, but apparently the judge thought I didn't talk enough. When the only person who talked more than me was the leader, who was barely on point half the time if at all. Thanks for your input though!

Yes it does.

Social networking online or off causes quite a bit of emotional damage to a child. Dealing with ones peers at a young age is not a pleasurable experience especially in our society. In truth the act of learning to deal with others socially is more a matter of taking enough emotional abuse to build up a proverbial callus, what many people call becoming 'thick skinned'. The end result usually crushes much of a childs idealism and youth as they try to learn how to cope and gain the knowledge that not only are they not the center of the universe but that the universe is a cold dark place where most people want to kick you, knock you down and stab you in the back because they like your shoes. Kids cause emotional damage to other kids to feel better, and then some partents who did the same justify it, resulting in bullies. Then on the other end of the spectrum are kids that get picked on. They have a hard time building that callus mindset that protects the bullies and other kids, try to speak out from indignation and all around hopelessness feeling the world is agaisnt them. Most kids are in the middle point where they pick on and get picked on, but even this is not without damage.

Online is exponentially worse because the people who like online networking and especially social networks like facebook are usually trying hard as they can to lash out in an environment where they can feel like the predator and at the same time be anti-social. Kids who are getting into it now can't take it when they are made to go on the receiving end of the emotional abuse and at least in the real world you can attack the person. At the same time when a kid looks to a social network for friendship they often ignore the fact that they can get it elsewhere. Some base their whole lives on it and get irrationally enraged when someone 'cyber bullies' them. Sadly the victims of cyber bullies are more likely those who can't handle the aggressive elements in the real world, so that puts those most likely to be frustrated anyways at the fore.

Long story short, as I feel I could go into circles a bit, is that online social networking is not inherently worse, but it tends to put those kids least able to handle it at the fore. Its like asking your wizard to go to the fore of battle when he doesn't have any more usages of mage armor or stone skin for the day.

 

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