Is your teen child an active social media user?
Social media and teens share a special relationship. They just can’t stay away from each other.
Social media lets people stay in touch no matter in which part of the world they are. Kids can kindle their creativity and share their thoughts and art on it. But, it also poses some serious risks which can’t be ignored.
In due course of time, we have seen a rise in the use of these apps. Let’s take a look at the facts.
|Social Media application||% of teens (13-17-year-olds) using|
Impact Of Social Media On Teens
Teens nowadays spend most of their time scrolling on social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. Their activity on these platforms largely depends on their lifestyle behind the screens. Sometimes these teens take a step further and end up developing a new connection, making stronger the existing ones or sometimes restricting their bond with someone.
These connections that they make virtually sometimes become a blessing for them but most of the time they end up in bitter situations.
Internet is a dark place filled with masked predators. It is a chance that your Teen may end up becoming friendly with a harmful person as most of the teens trust people very easily. Their overly trusting natures can lead to
- Online bullying
- Breaching of their personal data
- Someone can track their whereabouts and use it for unethical means
- Sexting and doing things inappropriate for their age
Apart from this, surging screen time can result in obesity, eyesight problems, and other physical disorders due to lethargy.
The effects of social media that are affecting teens adversely but cannot be seen from naked eyes are mental health problems. Yes, it sounds ridiculous that your child’s mental health can be compromised from their social media addiction, but it is 100% true.
How Social Media Is Affecting The Mental Health of Teens?
While social media gives a platform to connect with people across boundaries, it also poses risk to its users’ mental health and development.
In various researches, experts have claimed that constant scrolling devours the growth and development of kids and shows the signs of anxiety and depressing behavior in them.
Here’s how social media is destroying mental health:-
- Likes-driven behavior- Social media shares a platform with the whole world where everyone can flaunt their hidden talents, achievements, or appearance. The concept of likes and comments on social media inculcates competitive behavior in teens and they often change their appearance, engage in risky challenges, and show negative behavior to gather attention. Teens often get depressed if they do not receive the desired response and start thinking of themselves as unworthy.
- Online bullying- More than 10% of teen users across the world have accepted that they are bullied once in a lifetime online. This bullying behavior can badly affect the self-confidence of your child. Some teens even self-harm themselves or even resort to dangers such as suicide to ease their pain.
- FOMO- FOMO or fear of missing out is a type of feeling in which you feel that your friends or social media connections are living a better life than you or are happier than you. This inculcates a feeling of getting left out and your teen may end up feeling anxious or become a social media addict.
- Distance from the real world:- In a race of constantly uploading their whereabouts and thoughts online, teenagers often lose the difference in their mind between the real and virtual world. They become self-centered and start losing their connections in real life.
- Fake friends- Social media is full of strangers and it is very common for teens to become extra friendly with some of them. This unsolicited friendship may end up in some devastating situations affecting their physical or mental wellbeing.
- Addiction- Most teenagers have admitted that they need to check their account activity once in two or three hours. If they do not do it, they feel anxious.
Not only this, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has identified this behavior as a major threat to the mental health of teens. They have given a name to this disorder, Social Media Anxiety Disorder.
If not controlled at the initial stages, this behavior can even lead to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), paranoia, impulsiveness, and loneliness.
So, these are the problems but there got to be some solution. Right?
A straight prohibiting is not the apt solution for this muddle. The most appropriate solution is to make use of some smart way for bringing their life back in order.
How to bring the life of teenagers back in order?
Do you know what the signature effect is?
Various researches indicate that when people sign something, they take it more seriously and try to fulfill that pact more honestly. Parents should sign a digital contract with their kids before handing them their first smartphone.
Though it sounds kind of silly and not practical, you will thank us after seeing its effects in the long term. This contract should include rewards and penalties.
Rewards should be connected with some real-life perks like offering them their favorite food and penalties should be connected to withdrawal from the tech world.
Try to teach them in their own language
Teens are smart as well as adamant. Most of them are a rebel and won’t follow you if you forbid them simply. Try to teach them in a language that they would understand. Don’t order them to do anything, just calmly explain that their negligence can lead to harmful consequences by giving them examples.
Keep a tab on their online friends
Monitor their conversation with friends. Make sure that they aren’t doing something not appropriate for their age like sexting or sharing unethical pictures. Also, teach them that whatever you share on the internet remains there forever. So, share responsibly with anyone even if you trust that person more than anyone else.
Take help from Apps
Now, this is probably the best way to keep a check on their social media use.
Parental control apps like Bit Guardian Parental Control is even endorsed by child online monitoring experts for the exceptional role it plays in online safety of kids. You can take help from parental control apps in these effective ways:
- Set time limits on addictive apps like 30 minutes a day.
- Choose the time of the day, they are not allowed to use the phone like at nights or at mealtime to promote healthy sleeping and eating habits.
- Monitor your child’s messages to know whether they are safe or not. They might be a victim of online bullying or harassment and hesitating to tell you the same. Take action before it’s too late.
- Block the apps which you think are affecting your child’s mind and hampering their growth.
You may think that your teen is not mature enough to understand the difference between reel and real life. In reality, if they are grown up enough to use an internet connection, they are definitely mature enough to understand how social media works. Teach them that they only see few minutes out of 24 hours from a person’s life on these apps. It is not reality, it is tweaked to flaunt one’s virtual luxurious lifestyle. Teens should not feel bad for their lives by comparing it with so-called social media influencers.
There are no easy-going solutions for social media addiction. In reality, we all are struggling to find out the true place of these apps in our lives and how to prevent them from overpowering us. Adults themselves struggle with the addiction of smartphones. And, parents are role models, kids mirror their behavior. So, firstly you should set an example and control your screen times, and then take steps to make a change in their lives.
These ways will not make a change on the first day itself, we need your persistent efforts. Parental control apps like Bit Guardian Parental Control have always got your back to ease your concern.