The constant rise of social media proves that the global population has become more connected than it ever was in the history of time. As per an article published on Mashable, more than 3 billion people are using social media all around the world. This means the world’s 40% population is logging into their social media accounts and actively using them.
On average, a person spends about two hours every day on social media, according to the social media stats gathered by Global Web Index. This only shows how much dependent we have become on social media. This especially goes for children and teens who are more likely to use social media platforms than most adults.
With social media becoming a significant part of our children’s lives, could they be compromising on their mental health and wellbeing? While online platforms do have their benefits, spending too much time on them makes our children exposed to the dangers of social media that can leave a negative impact on their mental health.
Constant use of social media can make our children feel increasingly sad and lonely in the long run. The pressure of putting up perfectly captured and filtered photos on Instagram is affecting children’s self-esteem whereas obsessively going through your Twitter feed is leading them towards lack of sleep.
Dangers of Social Media Affecting Child’s Mental Health
We cannot stress enough about how your child’s mental health is being affected by the constant use of social media. They not only experience solitude but tend to develop several other problems as well.
In this post, we are going to talk about how the common dangers of social media are affecting your child’s mental health and wellbeing without you even knowing. Let’s talk about them in detail.
Every individual has a fair share of insecurities, some they speak about openly whereas others they prefer to keep to themselves. The same goes for children.
Exposure to social media can damage a child’s self-esteem in so many ways. Most of the time, children are found comparing themselves to others on social media by obsessively stalking their perfectly filtered photos on Instagram or keeping themselves up to date with others’ relationship status on Facebook.
Constant comparison with others can develop feelings of self-doubt in them. An article published on Independent.co.uk told us about a study which was conducted by the University of Copenhagen. The study found out that many people were suffering from Facebook envy with those who chose to stay away from the social media site, saying that they felt happier and more satisfied with their lives.
If only children can spend less time on social media and stop themselves from checking on other’s timelines and feeds, they can focus more on themselves and boost their self-esteem.
Social media has brought people closer but not in the real sense. People are connected to each other virtually. This means the real human connection is missing. Being human beings, it is important that we communicate and form personal connections with one another. The same goes for our children.
However, as long as our children stay glued to their screens, it can be difficult to help them create human connections with other people. Stina Sanders, a former model who has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram told in an interview with The Independent that social media made her feel left out.
She said she used to get FOMO (fear of missing out) whenever she saw her friend’s photos from a party she didn’t go to. As a result, she felt quite lonely and anxious. Hence, it is proved that regular use of social media sites can have a negative impact on a child’s wellbeing.
It is a blessing to have sufficient sleep. Children can experience a lot of problems if they have not slept well. They may find it difficult focusing on their studies or any other task if they haven’t slept well. Those who spend more time on social media, especially in the wee hours of the night, can experience a lack of sleep.
Most teens often get worked up with envy or anxiety especially after seeing something on social media. This is one of the reasons they can’t fall asleep on time as social media keeps their brains always on high alert.
Moreover, the glow emanating from their mobile devices just a few inches away from their faces can suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us in feeling tired. An article published on BBC told us about a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh which conformed that social media has a strong link with sleep disturbances. It also concluded that the light emanating from the mobile screens had a role to play in keeping our brains alert all the time, thus not letting us fall asleep.
Parents should set a strict rule for their kids in terms of using the cell phone before going to bed. children should not be allowed to use their phones an hour before going to bed. This will bring a major difference to the quality of their sleep.
Anxiety and Depression
As per a survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement (YHM) in the UK, it was reported that Instagram is the most damaging social media platform on mental health.
Not only overexposure to social media disrupts your sleep pattern, damages your self-esteem, jeopardizes human connections, but it can also lead your children to develop certain mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
In the past, many children and teens have reported having felt sad, anxious, or depress because of spending too much time on social media platforms. Children who took a break from social media have found it really beneficial for their mental health.
Social media platforms like Instagram can make children feel anxious and depressed because they are constantly comparing their lives with others. In an attempt to be like them or follow them, they start losing their own identity. When they fail to achieve a certain status, they feel depressed. Some of them may also have suicidal thoughts.
Children can take hiatus from social media for good and try to spend more time doing other activities such as reading books. While it’s not necessary to make your children quit using social media, you can tell them how to use the platforms effectively without letting them affect their mental health.