Social Networks Have Good and Bad Effects For Teens

September 20, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. narcissism (n.) [nahr-suh-siz-em] – an abnormal interest in or admiration for oneself (especially one's physical appearance)
Example: Her narcissism led her to undergo plastic surgery several times.

2. empathy (n.) [em-puh-thee] – the ability to identify one’s self with others by being able to understand their situations, feelings, thoughts and attitudes
Example: The employees admire their boss because he shows empathy to them by constantly considering their opinions.

3. aggression (n.) [uh-gresh-uhn] – the act or state of being violent or offensive to others
Example: Female animals naturally show aggression to protect her young.

4. spill over (v. phrase) [spil oh-ver] – to overflow or be forced out into another area
Example: Details from celebrities’ private lives often spill over into public knowledge.

5. arise (v.) [uh-rahyz] – to appear, emerge, or be a result of something
Example: After natural disasters, many problems arise.

Read the text below.

New studies reveal the positive and negative effects of being part of today's generation, also known as the "iGeneration", where teens and college students are constantly connected through the Internet, SMS, and social networks like Facebook.

A study by Larry Rosen, a social media researcher from California State University, associates social networking with mental issues such as narcissism, lack of empathy, increased aggression, and even depression. An observation of 300 teenagers also reveals that constant use of Facebook can be distracting and can cause lower grades.
Despite the negative effects of social networking, Rosen emphasizes how it can teach adolescents to socialize. Rosen says that digital social networks help shy kids in building relationships, an important step in teenage development. Even with the absence of direct communication, teenagers can learn to understand another person’s feelings through the use of the computer or other Internet-ready devices. This social skill may eventually spill over into the actual world as well.

For concerned parents, Rosen encourages them to discuss with their children the appropriate use of technology. He suggests teaching kids to take two-minute breaks to check online notifications and messages after every 15 minutes of studying. This allows them to focus longer and avoid the negative effects of social networking on their studies.

Meanwhile, Rosen discourages parents from using computer programs to monitor their child's social networking activities. He says that it is more important to build trust so that their children would not hesitate to talk to them should problems arise, such as getting disturbing images from others or bullying.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Why do you think using online social networks is popular among young people?
·         What do you think are other advantages and disadvantages of social networking besides the ones mentioned in the article?

Discussion B

·         What do you think parents can do to prevent their children from becoming addicted to technology?
·         Do you think young people deserve some privacy from their parents when using social media? Why?

September 20, 2011