Social Media: Kids Value The Number Of Connections, Not The Quality

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Parents, doctors, and experts all seem to be studying children’s use of social media with much anxiety, wondering what constant tweets and Facebook updates are doing to impressionable minds. While no one seems to agree that social media is doing children any good, Larry Rosen, a psychologist at Cal State Dominguez Hills points out that child are drawn to the medium because it allows them to connect to so many different people.

Dr. Rosen told The Los Angeles Times:

…“kids have been raised on the concept of connection. To them, it’s not the quality that’s important, but the connection itself. Phone or face-to-face conversations allow for a minimal number of connections, while other tools let them connect to the world.”

This point seems relevant when considering how children, and even adults, are facing increased pressure to craft profiles and online personas that are impressive to others. For many who participate, the whole point of platforms like Facebook and Twitter is to connect with as many friends or followers as possible — although objectives vary per individual. Connecting with other like-minded individuals or those who share your passions is a valid use of the internet, especially for children who live in places where their interests are not accessible in their immediate surroundings. But if children are merely looking to hit a high number of followers or friends for bragging rights, perhaps that is reason for alarm.