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How Does Social Media Impact Children's Literacy Skills?

It is no secret that social media has taken over the world. What once started out as a way for people to connect with friends and family has turned into a full-blown phenomenon, with people of all ages spending hours on end scrolling through their feeds. parent with kids looking at a tablet

While there are many benefits to using social media, some experts believe that it may be having a negative impact on children's literacy skills.

Do Social Media Sites Like Facebook and Twitter Impact Children's Literacy Skills?

It is no secret that social media has taken over. What once started out as a way for people to connect with friends and family has turned into a full-blown phenomenon, with people of all ages spending hours on end scrolling through their feeds.

While there are many benefits to using social media, some experts believe that it may be having a negative impact on children's literacy skills.

A recent study found that of more than 7000 8 to 18-year-olds who participated, almost 70 percent had at least one profile on their favourite site that they used daily, with half being on sites for at least an hour a day.

However, despite the popularity of social media sites among teens and children, many admit that they spend more time on their profiles than engaging in any other activity besides sleeping or attending school.

Moreover, another study found that kids who spent at least two hours each day on social media were twice as likely to receive low grades compared with those who spent less time online.

In fact, as a result of the impact that social media is having on students' grades and other school-related activities, many schools around the world have taken action to ban access from their networks.

While this may seem like a drastic step, many educators agree that it is necessary to reduce the distractions that sites like Facebook and Twitter are having on kids' academic performance.

Do Children Who Spend More Time On Social Media Have Poorer Literacy Skills?

Studies have shown that children who spend more time on social media are at risk of developing poorer literacy skills.

In fact, a number of experts have pointed out that kids who visit social media sites do not always engage in conversations, and if they do it is primarily to promote themselves.

In addition to the lack of communication associated with social media usage, experts also believe that these platforms can affect a child's ability to spell and write clearly.

More specifically, the use of abbreviations and SMS language is common among children who are frequent social media users.

How Can Parents Make Sure Their Kids Are Using Social Media In A Positive Way?

While there are many benefits to using social media, not to mention that it can be a lot of fun for kids, studies have shown that children who spend too much time on social media sites are at risk of deteriorating literacy skills.

As a result, many parents are looking for ways to make sure that their kids do not sacrifice important activities like homework and studying in order to be online.

What to do if your child is spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter?

Here are some tips from experts to help you navigate the world of social media:

  • Help your children develop a healthy balance between spending time on social media and engaging in other activities. In fact, it is important that kids spend time away from screens so they can relax and unwind after a long day at school or work.
  • Limit the amount of time that your children are able to spend online. If possible, make sure they are using social media sites during their free time or when you are around.
  • Teach your children proper social etiquette. While many kids naturally know how to communicate effectively face-to-face, this is not the case when it comes to communicating online. In fact, many kids use social media as a way to get attention from other users or "friends."
  • Monitor your children's online activity. While this may not be easy in the beginning, you will gradually learn which sites they favour and how long they spend on each one. This will help you make better-informed decisions about how to limit their activity.
  • Look for social media alternatives. Many children enjoy the games and other interactive features that many social media sites have, but there are also a number of apps that do not include these distractions. In fact, some of them have been created specifically to develop literacy skills in kids.
  • Praise your children for engaging in positive online behaviour. It is important that you reward kids for using social media responsibly and effectively, as this will help provide them with the motivation to continue their good habits.

Tips for helping your child develop strong literacy skills

If you are concerned about your child's literacy skills, talk to his or her school principal.

Schools today understand the important role social media plays in students' lives and how it impacts their academic performance in school.

The principal may be able to work with the teachers to come up with a solution that will help your child excel both inside and outside of the classroom.

Enrol your child in a literacy class at school or in the community. If you believe that your children struggle with literacy skills, enrolling them in an after-school program is a great way to get them the extra guidance they need.

Consider hiring a tutor who can help reinforce lessons that have been taught at school and identify areas where your child is struggling the most.

Learning to use social media effectively and responsibly can be a challenging task for many children, but it's important that they get this education so they understand how critical it is to their development.      

Wrapping Up

As technology continues to evolve and children are exposed to it at an earlier age, it's hardly surprising that the literacy skills of children could suffer.

Children who use social media sites more than two hours a day have lower reading scores on average.

If you're concerned about your own child's literacy skills, consider limiting their time spent on social media or taking advantage of parental controls that can limit screen time.

What do you think is causing this correlation?

How has your child's access impacted their ability to read properly?

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