How to get kids to stop using social media to share racist videos
A study from the University of Missouri shows that social media can have a major impact on children’s cognitive development.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that children who are exposed to social media, such as video games, text messages and images, are more likely to express negative attitudes toward other people and their race, and to express a negative view of themselves in general.
“Our findings show that social-media use and exposure can lead to a profound shift in how children view their own race and race in general,” said lead researcher Susan S. Schmitt, an associate professor of psychology at MU.
“Children are much more likely than adults to view race in a negative light, and this can lead them to see themselves as more of a threat and less of a friend.
It also raises the possibility that children’s exposure to racist imagery can have lasting effects.”
The study looked at 1,000 children in the fourth grade and found that exposure to video games such as Candy Crush, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Angry Birds, Minecraft and Candy Crush Star Wars led to a significant increase in negative attitudes about people of other races.
In addition, exposure to race-related media was associated with negative attitudes on a variety of other traits.
“Social media use has long been associated with an increase in aggressive, aggressive behavior in young children,” said Schmitt.
“But this is not the case with other kinds of media.”
“In our study, we were able to see that exposure is a powerful predictor of negative attitudes, including hostility, negative affect, and aggressive behavior.
This suggests that exposure may be a powerful weapon in the hands of those who use social media.”
Schmitt said the findings suggest that children need to be vigilant when it comes to social-networking sites and other media.
“It’s important to recognize that exposure does have an impact on our children’s attitudes, but not always with a positive one,” said S.J. Schramm, a research assistant professor in the MU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
“As they become adults, we are all in control of how we use social networks and how we communicate with others.
We need to use them responsibly and as a tool for learning and teaching.”
We need to ensure that our children are able to develop healthy and respectful attitudes and behaviors that respect others,” Schmitt concluded.
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
For more information on the study, visit www.psychologytoday.com.
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