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Cristian Garcia Adam Padgett English 1102 March 31, 2014 Social Media: A new Family Issue? Social media and family; these two words are often used with one another. Though, they are usually used in a sense of unity and keeping connection. Most people use social media such as Facebook, and Twitter to stay connected with their family and friends. In recent years, people have become more and more enveloped on social media, as in it has consumed their lives. These people have turned something thats only supposed to be used occasionally into something they use every day. This excessive use has started to cause communicational issues in families by disrupting the childrens social abilities, distracting the children during important times (Rosen), and promoting a generational disconnect between the child and the parent. Children, and I am using this term for any persons between the ages of 10 and 18 so its including anyone still living with their parents, are often noted as using and knowing about social media much more than the regular person. This is true because social media is a relatively new phenomenon in our world and it sprouted around the same time the children were growing up, so they were essentially raised, and are being raised with social media as a big part of their lives. So, as Teresa Correa puts it, these children are brokers of technology. Though there are major consequences of being raised with this type of technology; such as disrupting the growth of childrens social skills through excessive use of social media. The use of social media isnt the actual problem; its the direct effect this has on children which is

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keeping them from developing actual social skills and Important social skills develop from face-to-face conversations. (Antis) When theyre excessively using social media they are prevented from talking to actual people face to face, which in turn, keeps them on the social media sites. It is a constant cycle of inability to escape the information-overloaded society (Gill). When people have so much control about what they can see or say over the internet, they want more and thus spend more time on it. As Karamjit Gill puts it in his article Digitally Mediated World social media closes doors of freedom through the instrument of control. When it comes to the distracting qualities of social media, there are endless discussions that could be has based on first-hand accounts, though on this essay we will rely on quantitative evidence, not qualitative. During a study conducted by Larry Rosen, Mark Carrier, and Nancy Cheever on which students were observed during 15 minute intervals of doing homework, it was found that the students were only on-task for 5.61 minutes (the decimal being out of 100) if we expand that over a day of being awake, (a 24 hour day minus 9 hours for being asleep during the day) it amounts to only 5.61 hours of being on task out of a 15 hour day. The other 9.39 hours they are being distracted by social media or technology in general. This obviously creates a communicational barrier between the parents and their children during any family time causing issues between the two parties. The largest problem that social media causes between children and their parents is the generational disconnect between the two. Most parents were raised in a time where internet was not a factor, and they had to call another person or write letters to keep in contact. This inability of a lot of parents to understand how social media works and why it is such an important part of their childs life causes a rift to form between the two, which causes issues. This forces the

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children to have to teach their parents how to use social media, and the new technology. In some cases the children abhor trying to teach their parents how to use these technologies; which causes frustration in the children which leads to them not to speak to their parents for some times and the parents will get frustrated with their child because of that. This generational disconnect will also lead parents to question why their children spend so much time on social networks and using technology, which can range from smartphones to computers. This use takes up much of their day as stated before. This is the thing parents dont understand, how could something so useless, be so prevalent in their childrens minds. After completing all of my research I have come to my conclusion that my thesis is incorrect. Even though that social media and technology does cause communicational issues within families, it is not as big of a problem as it is made out to be. Most of the time this is not even the case and only the extreme cases of these issues are talked about, and are made to look like the whole demographic is like it. I will use my family as an example. Whenever my parents, my sisters, and I get together, to say go out to dinner. There is always the phone use, and checking twitter, and Instagram, and so on; just as I mentioned before. Yes our parents get annoyed, and even my father is on his phone during this time that is supposed to be Family time. Even though this is the case, it does not mean that there are communicational issued within our family. We may be on our phones, though we will always be able to communicate and take time talk to each other, rather than just be focused on our phones. This is prevalent in a lot of families today, when the children do spend a lot of time using social media and technology, but when it comes time to come together as a family, it does happen.

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Moderation is the key (Antis) Im not going to go as far as to say that social media does not inhibit social skills, because it does. This is true only if is introduced to a child who is far too young in the first place. If the child still needs to develop those social skills, granted everyone is different in this, they are too young to even be on social media sites, and using a lot of the newer technology made for teens, and adults. Know what your kids are doing(Antis), this means that it comes down to the parents to keep an eye on their children and to monitor how much time they are spending on social networking sites. It is also the responsibility of the parent to prevent their child, if he/she is too young, from accessing these sites and technology so the problem may never form to begin with; which also allows the parents to understand what social media is, and what it can do. While the parents monitor what their children are doing on these sites, it also gives them a chance to learn about them and how to use the social media networks, and the newer technology that is ever so prevalent in todays society, and that is accessible to their children. This does 2 things, it helps parents and children open a new line of communication by allowing the children to teach their parents, and it also decreases the generational disconnect between the parents and the children as talked about before. This line of communication is the children teaching their parents about all of the new technology that the children are adept at using, and the parents sometimes have no idea how to use, or what it is for. This is called Bottom-Up Technology Transmission (Correa). This goes back into earlier in the paper where it states that children are the brokers of technology (Correa) as in they help others learn about this new technology. During a study conducted by Teresa Correa in the Journal of Communication it was found that although there were

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communicational issues between the children and the father in the family, that being because they were usually more authoritative when working with their children, the communication between the children and the mother flourished. This is because the mother valued the childrens help, and vice versa, while with the father, the children valued the fathers input, though the father did not value the childs input. So, maybe indirectly, social media and technology does help family communication in some ways. Even though my thesis was incorrect, I am glad this was the outcome. Social media does not cause as big as gap between child and parents communication as I had predicted. This is based on many factors, mostly falling within the responsibilities of the parents. The parents have to watch what their children do, they have to teach them how to use social media and technology in moderation, and the biggest factor is that they just have to keep any type of line of communication with their child as they can, this has to be something the child is encouraged to speak about, which is usually something they know a lot about, and something they can teach their parents such as social media.

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Works Cited Antis, Tom. "Is social media ruining our kids social skill? Elementary. Parent Today, 9 May 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://www.parenttoday.org/client/index.cfm/2013/5/9/Issocial-media-ruiningour-kids-social-skills>. Correa, Teresa. "Bottom-Up Technology Transmission Within Families: Exploring How Youths Influence Their Parents' Digital Media Use With Dyadic Data." Journal Of Communication 64.1 (2014): 103-124. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Fletcher, Anne C., and Bethany L. Blair. "Maternal Authority Regarding Early Adolescents Social Technology Use." Journal Of Family Issues 35.1 (2014): 54-74. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2014 Gill, Karamjit. "Digitally Mediated World." AI & Society Feb. 2014: 1+. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Rosen, Larry D., L. Mark Carrier, and Nancy A. Cheever. "Facebook And Texting Made Me Do It: Media-Induced Task-Switching While Studying." Computers In Human Behavior 29.3 (2013): 948-958. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.