The popularization of social media changed the dynamics of society. Naturally, this affected children and their perceptions of interpersonal relationships. However, can it truly be said that the children of today lack social skills due to the rise of the Internet? They do not, as no one is forcing them to choose social media over real personal communications.
The Internet provides children with an opportunity to avoid personal contact if they should choose to do so. However, in the end, it is the person who makes the decision. A tool in and of itself cannot be blamed for simply being there for people to use. It is the fact that children are not taught differently that causes the majority of the problems that occur due to the popularization of social networks. The biggest issue of all is the fact that young people today lose some important social skills, and in some extreme cases, they become almost completely inept in real life communications. This occurs not because the Internet has some kind of magical power to enslave young minds, but because this way of communication is easier and allows many children to avoid bullying, arguing, and embarrassments that are constantly present in real life communications.
There is no doubt that all these negative emotions, and quite a few more, can occur during online communication as well. However, the impersonal nature of the Internet and some tech tools allow children to escape situations where they feel threatened. Therefore, the cases of cyber bullying and violence, although not completely eliminated, are less frequent. Shy children also find social media to be their major opportunity to actually make some friends, as they do not possess the courage to approach others in real life. The very nature of online communication gives these children confidence boosts, as they have the option to escape situations if things do not proceed as planned without getting hurt emotionally.
The most positive thing introduced by social media, which is undoubtedly the very thing that made it so popular, is the fact that this way of communication allows children from different parts of the world to find like-minded people and make friends. In a world where people are extremely busy with everyday life and the majority of households become like isolated micro-worlds, children are often denied the opportunity to find those who truly share their personal interests in real life.
The Internet and social media indeed have influences on children. However, it is the lack of opportunity and encouragement for real life communications that are truly responsible for their lack of social skills.