Harmful or Helpful: How the Internet Impacts Teen Social Skills

The ability to connect with the world has never greater, thanks to smart phones and the Internet. While parents may be concerned that the Internet can have a negative impact on their teen’s social skills, it can actually be a helpful and valuable tool. When viewed as a modern and necessary way to stay in touch with peers and parents alike, the Internet can be an asset to families.

Keeping kids connected

One of the ways that the Internet helps kids is by keeping them connected. This means that they may actually expand their social circle, since they can find friends with similar interests on the web. With proper parental guidance, teens can find and connect with other individuals who share their hobbies and interests. For teens that are more introverted in their daily lives, the experience of meeting others online who like the same things that they do can actually be quite helpful. It can encourage them to come out of their shell and get to know other people.

Deepening friendships and family ties

It also helps teens to get closer to their existing friends, since they have the ability to be in touch at almost all times. They can chat with friends through social sites and messaging apps. They can like each other’s photos and share content. They can find out something that they may not have known about a friend. When they do see that friend in person, they can discover something new that they have in common or something new to share and discuss.

Teens can also deepen their ties to family, staying connected with loved ones through social sites and photo sharing apps. For loved ones who live far away, the Internet can be an incredible tool for staying connected and maintaining a closeness that simply can’t be achieved through more traditional communication methods.

benefits of social media on teens

Community engagement

While the web opens up the entire world to users, many utilize it to connect and share on a local level. Teens can actually enjoy greater community engagement through the Internet. Through social networking sites, they may discover local groups, sports teams, and volunteer and philanthropic groups in their local area. This can lead them to a new way to get engaged with their community, and open up a new social circle.

Potential downsides

With so many great benefits for teens, it can seem like there are few downsides. However, it’s up to parents to keep tabs on their teenagers Internet use. There are some harmful aspects to be aware of. Parents need to know the signs of screen addiction and cyber bullying. Withdrawing from normal social interactions and spending the majority of time on a device should be concerning.

Teens today are in a unique position to use the Internet to their advantage. It is an undeniably important part of everyday life, so not using the Internet is simply out of the question. When used in moderation and under the supervision of parents, the web and digital devices can be helpful, and even beneficial, to teens and their social skills. Parents should recognize the benefits while encouraging healthy tech habits for their kids.

Lauren May

Lauren May is a freelance writer and frequent traveler. When she’s not creating content for clients, she enjoys blogging about freelancing and frugal living on her site, The Write Budget.

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