Social Media Assignment: Discussion On Cyber Safety Related Concerns On Learning And Development Of Children
This assignment requires you to individually research and report on a current
issue affecting children’s learning and development in Australian primary schools
covered within the EDU20003 content stemming from - The Hurried Child,
Health Issues- Bubble wrap generation, Social media – Cyber safety,
Gender (inequity/sexuality). This assignment will give you an opportunity to
demonstrate your knowledge of the contemporary issues and societal influences
affecting children’s development, as well as to reflect on how these issues may
impact your teaching practice.
Related learning outcomes
This task is assessing your ability to demonstrate that you meet the following unit learning outcomes:
2 Investigate and analyse contemporary issues that affect the school aged child in the 21st Century.
4 Describe the contemporary construct of the competent and capable child.
Research and report on a current issue (from the following list) that affects children’s learning and development in Australian education settings.
Health issues – bubble wrap generation
Social media – cyber safety
You should use relevant research literature to discuss the context and impact of the current issue contextual to Australian settings; refer to inclusive education policies, to support how educators could deal with this issue – (recommendations)
To support the contemporary construct of the competent and capable child, you should frame your report around child development theories (for example, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory). Choose two theories as the base and theoretical lens in which to discuss the issue and your findings. Refer to the learning materials and other units of study such as EDU10004 for further support in choosing and discussing relevant theories in your report.
This particular social media assignment is analyzing the effect of social media and cyber safety related concerns on learning and development of children. Social media has grown in an unprecedented rate to become a complicated but well-connected network of communication and information. Another significant result of technological advancements is the rising concerns over cyber security. This report on social media assignment discusses the influence of social media and cyber safety concerns over learning and development of children in Australia. The report starts with a brief introduction to the issue. After that, the findings relevant to the issue are discussed. This part of social media assignment contains key points of the issue, factors contributing to it and potential effects of the issue on learning and development of children in Australia. At the end of this report, some recommendations are made to help educators deal with the issue and subside its harms over children.
The current report on social media assignment revolves around the concept of rapid change and improvement of computer and network technologies over the past decade. With such improvements in the technologies, social media has spread all over the world. Social media is essentially an internet based communication platform. Over the years of its growth to global scales, social media has changed rapidly to become more interactive and user friendly. Due to the same reason, social media has become appealing to people of every community, age and belief. The children of current time have grown alongside social media. On one hand, social media has enabled children communicate better and with more distant people, connecting them to the whole wide world of information. On the other hand though, social media and cyber security has raised some serious and potentially highly consequential concerns over children’s development worldwide. Complying with a theory proposed by Piaget, Donaldson and Bowlby, that development depends on the surroundings as well as genetics, development of children is deeply influenced by social media. Another factor discussed in the social media assignment that has also been highly influential over development of children in Australia in the twenty first century is cyber safety. Although the combined effect of social media and cyber security concerns can be experienced in almost every aspect of society, the effects are significantly well pronounced over children. Cyber safety threats have rapidly grown in terms of number and influence over the past years. It is also very important to mention that the role of educators in resolving these concerns is very important because it is possible to change children’s behaviour through learning. An educator is essentially any adult responsible for development of a child. Educators play a very important role in learning and development of children.
Effects of Social Media and Cyber Safety on Learning and Development of Children in Australia
- Social Media Concerns
Early Access: One of the main reasons behind widespread effect of social media over learning and growth of Australian children outlined in the social media assignment is that most Australian children are getting used to social media from a very early age. At around the age of 17 to 18, 99% of Australian children become regular users of social media while more than 87% of them get used to using Facebook daily (Swistet al. 2015). This early exposure to social media often makes children addicted to it by the time they reach adulthood. Besides, an early access to social media often gives the user access to inappropriate elements of internet that can harm the development of children with time.
Over Engagement: The readings used to prepare this social media assignment illustrates that over engagement refers to excessive usage of a service than usual. According to a study published by Australian Psychological Society in 2017, teenagers in Australia spend over 1200 hours on social media each year on an average. Adults have also been reported to spend more than 950 hours each year on sites such as Facebook and Youtube in the same study. As children are prone to adapting the behavior of their educators (Pound, 2017), Australian children have also shown an increasing amount of time spent on social media over the years. Apart from this, less control over children’s social media activity is also a reason behind such situation.
What is impact of design in the context of this social media assignment?
One of the most interesting and influential properties of current social media platforms is their design. The developers of social media such as Facebook and Instagram have changed the designs of these platforms to become more and more addictive in nature. For example, most social media designs spread the feed of a user vertically allowing the user to scroll the feed from down to up to discover new posts and stories. This kind of design creates a sense of never ending entertainment on the users (Neyman, 2017). The developers have also continued to include more and more interactive features to make the designs of these platforms more engaging and addictive. Such features can be seen in the form of the modified like button on facebook among others. These addictive designs examined in the context of this social media assignment are often targeted solely towards young users, who are already likely to spare more time online.
- Cyber Safety Concerns
Over Exposure: Over the past few years, internet usage by an average user has increased significantly (Salahuddin and Alam, 2015). Due to increased internet usage, social media usage has also become more common practice in the country. As a result the children in Australia have also become more used to internet usage and consequently become more vulnerable to cyber security threats. These threats include not only virus and malware attacks, but also cyber bullying and threats from other users of internet.
Ransom Attacks: Another significant cause for increased cyber security concerns for Australian children illustrated in the social media assignment is the amount of confidential and potentially valuable data stored in their communication devices such as cell phones and computers. Some common kinds of valuable data include personal information, bank details and intimate pictures. Offenders often cease this kind of data to gain ransom in exchange for the same.
Factors Contributing to the Issue
- Social Media Concern
Availability of Mobile Devices: Mobile communication devices have increased many folds in terms of availability over the years. These have transformed into mandatory privileges till 2019 from exclusive modes of communication in the last decade (Milward, 2015). The research on social media assignment mentions that mobile phones have also been enlisted as one form of addiction by many researchers. This high availability of mobile phone usage has induced the usage of social media among children.
Marketing: Most social media platforms do not engage in regular modes of promotional marketing. The study developed in the social media assignment signifies that lifestyle marketing is a form of brand promotion, in which instead of directly promoting the brand name, the brand is projected as a complementary part of an appealing lifestyle to potential consumers (Chen, 2017). This kind of marketing creates a false sense of necessity for the brand to the customers. Many social media platforms also offer various deals and lucrative offers such as “share and earn” in their launching period. These kinds of promotional activities are very effective in attracting young people towards the service.
Rewarding Nature: Primordial social media platforms such as Orkut were developed as a tool for communication over long distances. The main features were creating virtual identities and sending text messages to one another. Over the years, social media platforms have changed tremendously. Most now include features to upload photos and videos and much more, which can be liked or disliked by others. Due to this reason, the likes and good comments given by others encourage children to outperform others in terms of good uploads (Lyverset al. 2018). The feature makes one feel rewarded whenever someone else likes their uploads. This sense of reward is also a reason for increasing social media addiction among children in Australia.
Confidence Induction: To make a normal face to face interaction, one needs a certain amount of self-confidence. But over social media, is has been observed that, most people can interact with more confidence than in real life and even assume alternate personalities to impress others. This task explored in the context of this social media assignment is much more achievable over social media as compared to real life (Carr, 2016). It is also much easier to express opinions and criticize others on social media. This kind of confidence inducing nature also plays a great role in luring children towards social media.
- Cyber Safety Concerns
Abundance of Valuable Data: One of the main causes for increase in cyber security concerns in Australia is an abundance of easily accessible valuable data. As more and more people are getting connected to the internet through personal mobile devices, the amount of financial and personal data that can be either exploited for financial benefits or can be seized to gain ransom also increase. This scenario attracts more and more cyber criminals by the day.
Low Concern over Cyber security: One of the main reasons behind increase in cyber security threats highlighted in the social media assignment is that most users pay little or no concern over cyber security. While many do not know or understand cyber threats, there are many users who remain docile over the issue despite having full understanding about the issue. This has been giving cyber criminals a great targetable base of users. However, the situation is changing in alarming rate. Many parents have admitted cyber safety as the main concern regarding their children (Marsh and Phillips, 2019).
Potential Effects of The Issue in Relation to Children’s Learning and Development
Social media and cyber security have significant effects on learning and development on Australian children. Although these effects are of both good and bad types, in this report only harmful effects of those issues is discussed.
- Effects of Social Media
Mental and Physical Health: One of the main factors for good learning abilities and development of children is health. Good health presents suitable learning conditions for a child. However, it has been observed that social media can often be greatly responsible for deteriorating physical and mental health.
Physical health deteriorates due to excessive viewing of screen and skipping necessary exercise habits due to social media addiction. Another well recognized reason mentioned in the social media assignment is that children are often prone to engaging on social media during late night hours. This causes insomnia and further harms children’s physical health.
Mental health of many social media user children also deteriorates with time. This happens mainly due to negative feedback from peers and depression caused by social media addiction.
Decrease in Direct Social Interactions
While social media increases one’s virtual interactions with others, this is also responsible for decreasing direct interactions of the users with others. Direct social interactions are very important in a child’s character and social understanding development (Sluckin, 2017). Children often become dull and less potent due to less social interactions.
Addiction: Experts have agreed that the habit of continuously checking social media feeds for updates on others’ lives can be addictive. Besides, researchers at Brain Mapping Centre of UCLA have confirmed that getting ‘likes’ on social media can induce a false sense of being rewarded. If exposed at an early age, these traits can induce an irreversible form of addiction in children. This kind of addiction harms the learning and focusing abilities of children (Veissière and Stendel, 2018).
Decline in Well-being: A study conducted by the University of Michigan researchers has been investigated to develop this social media assignment which has emphasized that excessive use of social media results in decline in subjective well-being in teens. Excessive social media use also leads to a situation in which a child feels miserable while not using it (Wisniewski et al. 2015).
- Effects of Cyber Security Concerns
Psychological Issues identifies in the context of this social media assignment: Being exposed to cyber security threats makes one fearful and uncomfortable. When a child is subjected to some kind of cyber-attacks, if the incidence is severe enough, then it may impose permanent effects upon the child’s psychology. This kind of situation may lead to psychological issues that may last for long periods of time. Such effects make the child temporarily or permanently less efficient than usual in learning. A good example is cyber bullying. In many cases of cyber bullying, the subjects, mostly children take long periods of time to recover from the trauma. In some less severe cases, the learning ability of children is hampered for shorter periods of time.
Character Development: Character development is one of the most important aspects of overall development of an individual that has been discussed in this segment of social media assignment. Character development mostly takes place during the puberty period of a child. During this period, if the child is subjected to any kind of cyber-crime, it may seriously damage the child’s character building process by embedding negative imprints and interests on the child’s psychology (Lissak, 2018).
Mental Stress: Among various kinds of cyber-attacks, one of the worst is ransom ware attack. In this mode of cyber-attack, cyber criminals first seize valuable data from a user or else gets administrative access of the user’s credentials to access necessary data. After that, the offenders demand ransom from the user in exchange for their data. Such cases have been observed to happen with many Australian children. As a result of these attacks, children may develop long lasting mental stress. Such stress harms the learning ability of children.
From the overall analysis done in the social media assignment, it is concluded that although various factors are affecting the learning and development of children in Australia, social media and cyber security are two of the main concerns in the issue. Social media can have both good and harmful effects on children. Good effects include better communication and access to more useful data. The harmful aspects of social media can cause serious damage to children’s learning and development if remained unchecked. On the other hand, it is also clear in this social media assignment that cyber security has been a rising concern for every internet user for a while. While the harmful effects of cyber threats such as DoS attack, DDoS attack and Ransomware Attack can be significant; these can also seriously harm the development of a child by decreasing the subjective wellbeing of the child. Some steps can be proposed to be taken by educators to ensure children’s safety from harmful effects of social media and cyber security threats.
- Enhanced Direct Interactions: Educators should focus on increasing the amount of direct social interactions experienced by a child. This helps in learning as well as psychological well-being of the child. This objective can be achieved by taking the child to socially diverse places with scope to interact such as playgrounds and community gatherings
- Restricted Internet Access: It is very important to monitor the activity of a child online. This gives the educator a clear idea about the child’s social media habits. The educator should set a certain amount of screen time for the child which should not exceed clinically prescribed limit. Apart from protecting the child from social media addiction, this policy also helps maintain good health of the child. It is also very necessary to allow social media access to a child only after a certain age. When the child uses the internet, the educator should encourage them to maintain as much cyber safety as possible. This has to be initiated by explaining the need for cyber security to the child.
- Active Lifestyle: An active lifestyle mentioned in the context of this social media assignment refers to a lifestyle in which an individual carries out at least minimum necessary amount of exercise on a daily basis. A child can be indulged into an active lifestyle to protect the child from social media addiction. The process can be initiated by encouraging the child to take part in some form of active sport. An active lifestyle also helps in mental growth and sustaining physical fitness of a child.
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