Skip to main content

Kids on social media: How do children, parents, and teachers feel about it?

Kids on social media: How do children, parents, and teachers feel about it?

  • Date14 September 2021

RHUL researcher Dr Beatrice Hayes together with Prof Ravinder Barn, Dr Alana James, and Prof Dawn Watling investigated what children, parents, and teachers think about children's social media use.

mckaela-taylor-grhjIuEAb_0-unsplash.jpg

Photo by McKaela Taylor on Unsplash

Despite the age restrictions of social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) typically comprising 13 years, younger children are creating profiles and interacting online. We often hear about the dangers of such use via the media and, indeed, children’s use of social networking sites presents many risks. However, there are also many benefits such as strengthen pre-existing friendships online, making new friends and enhancing self-esteem via positive online feedback. We also know that parents and teachers play an important role in children’s lives and are very influential in how children behave online as well as how they perceive the risks and benefits of social networking site use. To explore this, we interviewed 13 parents, 14 teachers and 15 children across the United Kingdom to find out what they perceived the risks and benefits of social networking site use to be.

We discovered that parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of social networking site use shaped children’s own perceptions and subsequently how they manage their online behaviour. In particular, despite parents and teachers outlining the benefits of strengthening relationships with friends and family online, all of our adult participants identified stranger danger as a risk of children’s social networking site use. Children echoed this perception and were keen to explain how they protected themselves from strangers online. However, children were less knowledgeable about the more day-to-day risks, such as falling out with friends or cyberbullying. Importantly, our paper calls for a more balanced approach to educating children about the online risks and benefits. Of course, children require protection from strangers online, however, children require a stronger understanding of the more “realistic” online risks as well as the many social benefits available to them. We argue that a balanced approach to educating children about their social networking site use is important for empowering children within a digital world.

 

Read the full article in the British Journal of Educational Psychologyhttps://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12452

 

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

They say the two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today