One of the greatest gifts technology had given to man is the creation of the Internet. Using the Web breaks boundaries and creates connections and improves information distribution. Despite these benefits over time the Internet seems to create a disconnection among our youth today. Especially since social media platforms have started to rise to prominence.
We can all admit that social media has definitely made our lives as parents, and our children’s lives a lot easier as well. But we also have to confess how it can negatively affected some of the kids psyche nowadays.
Psychologists today tackle many issues surrounding teens and their use of social media. As much as parents want to shield their kids today from the daunting risks that revolve around the Internet, nothing can or will stop them from accessing the Web.
The topic of the effects of social media on teens is broad. In fact, there is a staggering amount of studies and surveys published about it. If you are reading this article, chances are you are starting to wonder how the Internet is influencing your kids today. Below are the most concerning factors affecting your teenager right now.
They Are Addicted To It
Let’s face it, even us adults tend to stick our noses on our phones to check our Facebook accounts from time to time. I myself admit that I check it almost every 2 hours. One study revealed two thirds of Americans log in to Facebook on a daily basis, and 40% of them login multiple times a day.
There is a long list of reasons why we log on Facebook, but it is often used as a distraction or a relief of boredom. We associate the “likes” we get as a positive reinforcement on the comments we post. This is what makes it so addictive – Classical Conditioning, as psychologists call it.
They Tend To Be Insecure
As parents, even if we give all the love and support we can to boost their self-esteem, social media is always there for them, to put it into teen’s slang, “hate on them”.
The stories on social sites are often idealized versions of what actually is happening in reality. Users tend to compare themselves with what is said, see how it relates to their own situation or experience, and may end up thinking less of themselves because they don’t have the “ideal” life they want.
They Are Physically Inactive
Teens today prefer to stay at home and surf the Internet rather than engage in physical activities like sports and exercise. This is one of the reasons why there is such a huge population of obese teens these days.
In fact, even adult obesity is on the rise too as older people are not exempt from this situation. Encourage them to go out and practice a sport or two that they enjoy. Getting them active promotes both a healthy heart and mind.
They Become Restless
Social media platforms, as mentioned above, are addictive. When our children do not get to access their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts, it becomes a huge issue to them and they become restless, to the point that they can’t let this issue go. Don’t believe me? Try turning off your Wi-Fi for a few minutes and see how they react.
They Are Getting Cyberbullied
Our kids tend to hide from us what’s going on in their lives, and when they become the subject of cyberbullying, it becomes harder for them to admit what exactly is happening. Cyberbullying is a huge problem today to the point that many organizations were formed to stop this crime.
Enough is Enough, a society fighting against cyber bullying conducted a survey and found that 95% of the teens using social media have witnessed cyberbullying. And 33% of them have been victims of it.
There are also many positive effects in using social media. It can be used to promote businesses, endorse an advocacy, or spread awareness on certain important causes. However, the negative effects of it can also be daunting, especially when our teenagers today have all the freedom to access the Web and constantly visit social media sites.
The Internet is not going anyway, and it is surely here to stay. The only thing we can do as responsible parents is to stay on top of things, monitor their Internet use and teach them the discipline to focus on the good and stay away from the bad sides of it. Educating them on the proper use of social media will lessen the negative effects they can have on their psyche.