Social Media’s Effects on Moral Development in Youth

tree-200795_1280With technology today, children are constantly using some form of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, these are just a few of the many platforms available for youth to use. A recent article by Psych Central discussed a new survey that was released, revealing the widespread anxiety parents have about social medias effects on moral development in youth. Many parents believe that popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are hindering moral development in youth.

Parents Opinion on Social Media

According to the findings of the survey—conducted by researchers at the University or Birmingham—15 percent of parents think that popular social media sites offer a positive influence on moral development in youth, while 40 percent of parents said they were “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the negative and potential harmful impact of social media.

The survey questioned over 1,700 parents of children aged 11 to 17. The survey was put together to allow researchers to develop a better understanding of parents’ perceptions around the influence of social media on moral development in youth.

Negative Character Traits

Throughout the survey, respondents pointed out a number of character strengths they believed were lacking on social media—24 percent said forgiveness and self-control was least present, followed by honesty, fairness, and humility.

Parents were also asked to name the negative character traits, or vices, they saw on social media at least once a month. 60 percent of parents named anger and hostility as the most negative trait displayed, followed by arrogance, ignorance, bad judgment, and hatred.

Positive Character Traits

While the most attention was focused on social media’s negative effects on moral development in youth, 72 percent of parents also stated they saw at least one positive moral message a day featured on social media. They also stated that the top five strengths for moral development in youth found on social media included, humor, appreciation of beauty, creativity, love, and courage.

With most experiences or interactions, there are going to be positive and negative elements absorbed. Technology is no different—it has its ups and downs—as a parent, it is up to you to decide whether you believe technology is having a positive or negative effect on moral development in your child.

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