If you didn’t know it already, Social Media is the new face of communication. Its even being used in schools around the world to connect pupils and parents with teachers, administrators and even classrooms. The likes of Snapchat and Facebook are realities you cannot escape from anymore, how will you become ‘popular’ if you aren’t on them?? The question is however, is it necessary or even safe to allow your children to have social media accounts? Here we have some scary truths about social media that if you’re a parent you should most definitely know:
The Effects On Mental Health
Its unprecedented the amount of times experts have linked depression and social media, even more so in the case of kids and adolescents. Believe it or not, Facebook Depression is a real term. It’s used to describe the feeling you get when experiencing pressure, drama or other intense situations occurring on social media. In most cases, this can have profound effects on young people, resulting in anything from social media isolation to self-destructive behaviors such as suicide.
Sadly this is one of the biggest causes of depression for young children. Cyberbullying is one of the scariest yet most frequent occurrences on social media for young children. Even if your child may not be the victim of cyberbullying, you can guarantee they will at least witness it. Even grown ups and adults are not exempt from cyberbullying which usually take on different forms. One of the big problems with these platforms is the control you have over appearing on them. It’s easy for a child to have an embarrassing photo taken of them which is then uploaded by someone else. Before you know it that photo is being commented on and can very quickly spiral into negative, bullying comments. Whilst the authorities are putting more procedures in place to deal with this, online bullying continues to be one of the biggest issues to tackle for young children.
Their Grades Suffer
Our mobile phones are now an extension of ourselves, we cannot bear to be without them. However with children, its so important they are spending their time correctly. They should not always be on their phone and should not be forgetting about things like school. A survey which was carried out on students showed that 36.4% admitted that social media regularly interfered with their school work. Its likely many students were not entirely honest when answering that survey, so the number is most probably higher. Social media platforms are like a drug, they are addictive and we need regular fixes to keep us satisfied. But for children, this addiction can be so harmful not just on their mental health but also on their future as academics.
Real Or Fake?
Its so easy for the internet to manipulate our thoughts on certain topics. If they can do it to adults, then social media most definitely has the ability to effect a child’s perception of what’s real and fake. Social networks (apart from Snapchat) are all about numbers. How many followers do you have, how many comments do you get, how many likes did your picture receive? Children are young and venerable, so they will find it hard to distinguish between real, honest friendships and then ‘friends’ on Facebook, Instagram etc. On top of this, young millennials growing up in the social media era may start to believe that everything that exists online is true. Especially when it goes viral across social media.
Life Is ‘So Great’
Its very apparent how its difficult for kids to create meaningful relationships with people in their lives. Often in teen relationships and friendship circles, they tend to post everything online, but not is all as it seems. Often its done to create an illusion of how perfect and great everything is, when in reality that could be farthest from the truth. The social pressures of keeping active on social media a massive.
Trying to appear like you are the cool kid, always doing cool things can have a large negative effect. Children may be posting photos and hoping for a big response with lots of likes and comments. But these vanity metrics can work against children. Whilst in reality not getting many likes or comments is meaningless, to a venerable child this may lead them into feeling isolated and feeling un-liked. Unfortunately this may lead them to real relationship issues later in life.