Rising Negative Impact of Social Media On Kids and How To Tackle Them?

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Mobile phones have become a part of our daily life. Rapidly changing technology and social media platforms have become a constant way of communication for the younger generation.

As social media is a double-ended sword, it has benefits and side effects that can influence youngsters in the wrong ways. The negative side of social media is destroying the youth and making them suffer in ways we don’t see. With teens becoming addicted to these platforms, it becomes necessary for parents to monitor their actions.

In this article, we will discuss some of the ways in which social media is harming young generations and what measures parents can take to prevent them.

Negative Effect of Social Media on Kids

According to ExpressVPN’s research, children as young as 4 years old,  are at risk of negative and potentially harmful behavior on social media. Of course, you cannot paint social media with such a broad brush, but the survey sheds interesting insight into how immersive social media truly is if we’re first exposed to it at such a young age.

Here are some of the negative impacts on children using social media.

  • The most well known side effect of  Social media is “Addiction”. People who are active on social media get addicted to constantly keeping checking their phone. Activities like share, likes, and activating the reward center in the brain. In adolescence the reward circuitry is highly affected and it further influences our moods.
  • Kids spend half of their day scrolling social media apps, watching photos, videos and stalking people’s accounts. This disrupts other activities like sports, school study or any other productive routine. This results in a wastage of a lot of time which thereby reflects on their school grades. Social media also builds a defeatist attitude in kids.
  • Social media is impacting the mental health of children . A study finds that kids spending approximately 4 hours a day on social media suffer poor mental health. The virtual world immersion delays their social and emotional development. Teenagers are more likely to get depressed due to usage of social media under the influence of comparison, cyber bullying and reduced one on one interactions with people.
  • The use of facebook also leads to decline in the subjective well-being of teens. The more active they are on Facebook the more dissatisfied they will feel with their lives. “Facebook depression” is becoming highly common in teens. They become moody, anxious and would rather spend time online than with their friends.
  • Childrens who spend more time online tend to become non-empathetic and lack in non-verbal an verbal communications.They are unable to learn how to read facial gestures of people and non-verbal cues when interacting with someone.  Minimal social interaction due to constant online presence is the main cause being these issues.
  • FOMO (Fear of missing out) is another major negative side effect of social media. While some teens are in constant pressure of getting a certain number of likes and comments on their posts others fear of not being able to follow the social trend. FOMO causes anxiety and depression among teens.
  • Posing endless selfies and updates increases obsession with self and narcissistic behavior from a young age. Their mood relies on how well their posts performed online. If they do not get the expected reaction they get anxious.  The self-centered behavior among kids causes dysfunctional emotional conditions which later in life causes lack of empathy for others.
  • For the sake of taking interesting selfies kids put themselves into dangerous spots. Selfie addicts go to unacceptable things like climbing skyscrapers, posing with weapons or wild animals, going too close to dangerous waterfalls, trains and other vehicles. These risky behaviors sometimes cause them to lose either life.
  • Social media platforms have a negative impact on the brain like short attention span, lack of concentration.
  • Usage of social media also affects the child development due to growing up on superficial stimuli, lacking ability to engage with others or with themselves. They end up focusing on posting perfect instagram photos rather than actually experiencing the actual event, family trips or lunch with friends.
  • Cyber bullying or cyber crime is another highly common side effect of social media. Kids also become targets for online stalking by predators who intend to cause them harm.
  • Violent, explicit, and offensive content is accessible easily on the internet which can have a negative impact on young minds. Such content shape their young minds in wrong manner and make them mentally disturbed. It can affects their relationships, education, and personal life later.

Preventive Measures For Parents To Keep Their Kids Safe

Here is how parents can guide either kids about the good and bad uses of social media and make them learn the smart way of being active on these platforms.

  • Start by educating the kids about impacts of social networking sites by giving an insight into the pros and cons. Set boundaries on which site they can use and for how long.
  • Help your kids to engage more in real life communication with people instead of channing online. Kids should be involved  in social activities and making new friends.
  • Instead of abruptly telling them to not use apps, encourage them to join sports, hobby classes and other non-virtual activities.
  • Teach them to differentiate between what is worth spending time and what is not on social media.
  • Supervise their only activities and teach them how to protect bullies and online predators. Give them enough freedom but keep regular checks on them so they do not indulge in bad activities.
  • If you find your child upset after they use their phones or talk online, make sure to talk to them in private. They may be in need of guidance but hesitant to ask you.
  • You can reward them for their good behavior when they follow the social media timeline set by you.
  • Make them understand that having 500 friends on social media is of no use if they don’t have friends in real life and have no social life. Being popular , cool on facebook doesn’t mean anything.
  • Emphasize on teaching them the difference between real life and social networking.

As with just about all things, social media should be used moderately to stay in touch with the times and trends. Trouble begins only with excessive indulgence.