Kids nowadays have more access to social media more than ever. Kids feel pretty hopeful about their future in social media. They are always active enough to make their impression online on social media.
With the increase in popularity of the internet nowadays, kids learn their first letters, words, shapes, and colors from the internet. When your kid is exposed to the internet, make sure they know every aspect of the internet. The importance of privacy, risk of predators, sexting, and many other negative sides of the internet.
The increase in the use of social media has increase the screen time of children. The are many social media platforms, and kids want to be part of each social media platform. They do not just want to be part of it be are actively updating themselves on each platform, and it is one of the main reasons for the increase in their screen time.
As a parent, you should know how much screen time is good for your kids. Encouraging them to use only for a certain period and balance their screen time.
Excessive use of social media can affect children’s brains, and in the worst case, it can reduce their academic performance. Children who spend more time on social media have lower scores on thinking and language tests. Kids may also encounter health issues like increasing obesity and disrupting sleep.
Children’s on Social Media
Law enforcement considers children as a vulnerable group on social media. This age group needs to get protected from data mining. But we can see children’s social media profiles from age 10 to 11 or even more junior.
When adolescents or kids feel lonely, they get into social media, talk to their peers, and might end up feeling lonelier. But sometimes, they might have random conversations with strangers, and one thing they might not be aware of is that all the strangers on social media may not have good intentions.
Kids can be the victim of online preachers as they may not distinguish between their good and bad intentions.
During the adolescence period, the brain gets involved in different social aspects. The brain goes through major changes during this period. They may not be able to identify between good and bad intentions, so you need to be more concerned about your children’s activities on social media. You need to know which social media they are in, whom they are talking with, what they are updating on social media, etc.
What Paresocial mediants Should Know About Screen Time of Kids?
You can’t take away all the electronic devices, but you can play between age and timing. Suggestions on this include:
- No screen time before 18-24 months
- Choose selective media after 18-24 months and watch with them.
- Make a screen-free zone around your environment.
- Allow only 1 hour per day after (only selective media)
There is growing concerned about children’s behavior online and their development in a lonely child environment due to social media. Children are less likely to play on the ground, communicate face to face, and hang out with adults. It would be best if you chose a healthier way of entertainment for their kids.
Ways Social Media Affects Child’s Brain
At some point, every activity of teens gets related to social media. The majority of them maintain more than one social media platform regularly. Those groups of teens’ lives are between likes, comments, photos, messages, and many more.
Brain development starts during the teenage, and during this period, they are sensitive to acceptance and rejection. During this period, there may be a strong impact of social media on kids. A small negative comment can affect children mentally.
Likewise, social media and peer influence are also correlated; most of the kids get into the social media platform under their peers’ influence. Also, whatever they post is somewhat due to the influence of their peers.
Here are some of some ways social media affects a child’s brain:
Mood swings and several types of mental illness occur most of the time during teenagers. Social media don’t have a stable environment which causes different mental illnesses.
Teenagers can face online bullying or any traumatic experience on social media. Small negative comments can affect them for a week or even more. And it is not always the case where your kids will always get positive comments.
Therefore, social media can affect a child’s mental health, and it is our responsibility to supervise your kids when they are using social media.
There is a high chance of having symptoms of depression if your child spends more time on social media. Study shows that, who use seven social media platforms has 3 times the risk of depression than a person who maintains fewer sites.
When kids are sleep-deprived all the time, then they can get into depression. Teenagers can also face many social media problems like harassment, bullying, negative comments, which can affect their psychology and lead to depression.
Especially, teenagers are more conscious about the comments people on the internet pass on. What others think about them, how they will behave next time are issues teenagers worry about.
Online bullying, slut-shaming, sexual harassment are real sources of anxiety for teenagers.
Teenagers usually love to be on social media, especially during their free time. And you may know most of the people are free only during the night, and due to this reason, teenagers also spend more hours online during night time. They even use social media even when their sleep time passes, and due to this, most of the time, they are sleep deprived.
The frequency of checking and updating their social media is higher for teenagers. So, logging into social media at night may cause sleep deprivation. It brings tiredness, irritation, and lack of sleep with it.
The culture of showcase is high on social media. People on social media are starting to post what they eat on the day to what they are wearing, where they live, gadgets and vehicles they own, and so on. You can see this show-off culture mostly among teenagers.
Every kid might not be able to afford what their peers have, making kids envy each other. Kids might even demand their parents to give them whatever their peers own, and when parents do not fulfill their demands, they start to envy their friends.
Question Parents Should Raise to Themselves
Parents should know when the brain of a child is ready for social media. If your kids are small and want to use social media, make sure that you supervise them. If your kids are below 13, you should be around your kids whenever they are using social media.
How do their children interact with others?
Parents should be more concerned about their child’s behavior online. Each and everything they post online remains there forever. Parents should keep an eye on the way they behave on social media. It would help if you made them clear about the merits and demerits of the digital footprint.
Are they exposed to hate content?
Social media covers everything around the world. Children are sensitive enough to handle the load of social media. Social media may have different hate content. Those contents can have physiological effects on their child.
Social media is linked with the feeling of envy, inadequacy, and less satisfaction. This leads to the symptoms like anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation.
Does social media make them overdo?
Social media can make children more conscious about their appearance, body shape, clothing, and many more. Children are easy prey on social media. Because of which social media can cause sadness among children.
Thinking more is better; kids want to make more friends and followers, gain more likes and comments, stay online for more hours, etc. They feel if they have more followers and likes on social media, they are cool among their friends, which makes them overdo.
Do they feel peer pressure?
In adolescence, peer influence matters more than parental influence. They depend on peer reactions, acceptances, rejections, and their comments. Under peer pressure, they get involved in different social media and be friends with random strangers and can be the victim of cyberbyllying
At some point, children adjust their behavior to their group but not as parents to get acceptance among their peer group.
Does it harm moral development?
Social media is a vague platform; everyone from everywhere gets connected there. People from different regions, different backgrounds, different norms have different morale. Children may develop inappropriate language from those circles, and this kind of moral development may have a negative digital footprint.
Can they differentiate between real and fake online?
Everything online is not trustworthy. The real world and digital world have many differences. It would help if you made them aware of the difference between fake news and real news.
Children lack maturity, and social media is not for them to handle.
Measures To Reduce Social Media Risk
Children are not mature enough to reduce their risk online. Parents should control those risk factor of their children: Following are some remedies:
Delay Access to the Internet to your Kid
There is always a right age to provide social media exposure; never rush to provide social platform exposure early. The more you delay access to social media more maturity develops among your kids. Which leads to having a positive digital footprint in the future.
Encourage to Have a Face To Face Conversations
Having a face to face conversations leaves no traces and trails online. Children don’t get trapped into any bad intentions of people on social media. Encourage your kids to have a face-to-face conversation where they can express their real emotions. Never go over the top with a reaction while discussing issues with your kids.
Never encourage them to keep secrets. Please encourage them to talk with you about their problems and emotions.
Only Allow Larger Screen
Whenever you give them access to be online, it’s better to provide them larger screens. Screens of tablets, computers are not portable enough to carry away in their pockets, and you can watch them.
Fewer secrets reduce the chance to make bad choices. Allowing a larger screen will give you more exposure to the content they are following.
Keep an eye on the Clock.
The more time your kids spend online, the more vulnerable they are. Similarly, if you set a proper schedule for social media and when not to, the risk will reduce. Make sure you will allow your kids to access social media only for 1 hour a day.
Spend More Time Away from Technology
Spending more time away from technology reduces the stress level on the brain. The personal relations of children will improve while having a face-to-face conversation.
If your kids only talk to people through their devices, they may lack the confidence to have face-to-face communication. Hence, when kids spend less time online, they have more confidence to socialize.
Maintain a schedule for social media exposure and keep an eye on them. Always be on the side of your child; they will reward you with their honesty.
Social media has both positive and negative sides, and it is up to the users how well they can use social media. Adults can easily distinguish between positive and adverse side, but kids may find difficult to distinguish between the two sides.
If your kids cannot distinguish between the positive and adverse effects, they can be affected mentally. It can hamper their brain development and impact them psychologically.