Social media has brought a major revolution in our lives and has become an addiction for many people over the last few years. As technology has progressed, we have become more dependent on our digital devices. More than the adults, the children are addicted to social media than ever before.
Social media for kids is like a blessing—they cannot imagine going about their day without spending some time on social media. They communicate with their friends, play games with them, and post and share private photos and videos on their social media profiles without realizing to what extent sharing intimate details on social media can be damaging for them.
Undoubtedly, social media has created a greater avenue for many people to interact with one another across the globe, aiding the process of communication. Children seem to benefit the most from social media as they take these platforms as a source of entertainment.
They spend too much time on social media platforms without knowing its negative impact. Excess of everything is bad and the same goes for social media usage. Unfortunately, they have taken on the use of social media to extents that if not timely monitored or limited, it can leave some severe effects on their mental health and overall wellbeing.
The Negative Effects of Social Media for Kids
Jessica Brown states in an article on BBC that social media addiction is a mental health problem. She further adds that excessive usage of social media sites is associated with relationship problems, worse academic achievement and less participation in offline communities.
Social media can have severe effects on a child’s overall being. According to the Child Mind Institute, a recent survey has found that social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all lead to increased feelings of depression, poor body image, anxiety, and loneliness.
Experts further explain how using social media affects teenagers in the same article featured on Child Mind Institute. We will be amazed to look at teen social media statistics. One of the statistics shows that 91% of teens between 16-24 years use the internet only for social networking.
This proves how strongly children are addicted to social media. The more time they spend on social media, the more exposed they will be to the online risks and threats present on social media sites. For parents, it is important that they know how social media is affecting teens negatively.
The effects of social media on kids can be dangerous. Now, let us take a look at the negative effects of social media on children and teens.
Cyberbullying is known to be the most common online threat lurking on social media. Children can be exposed to cyberbullying on social media and not even realize they are being bullied. They receive mean, threatening, and offensive messages from cyberbullies and not know what to do about them.
Victims of prolonged cyberbullying often end up having mental health problems such as isolation, depression, stress, loneliness, low self-esteem and some of them even become suicidal. The best way to keep your children safe from the effects of cyberbullying is to regularly monitor their online activity. This will help parents know immediately if a child is being exposed to cyberbullying.
Facebook Depression is another negative effect social media has on children and teens. This is an emotional disturbance that is linked to excessive Facebook usage. When children are made to feel inferior to their social media peers, they end up in Facebook depression. The need to stand out, fit in or be accepted by their Facebook friends is what leads these children to develop this type of emotional disturbance.
Our kids are seen using smartphones during late at night. Instead of sleeping in early, they are seen spending time on social media platforms until the wee hours of the night. The need to keep up with their friend’s stories and updates keeps them awake. By doing this, they jeopardize their sleep patterns and become sleep deprived if not stopped at the right time.
Excessive social media usage lowers children’s self-esteem because they cannot stop comparing themselves to celebrities after spending so much time on social media sites. Most teens, especially girls, want to look beautiful, slim, and rich just like the celebrities and influencers they follow on social media.
This constant attempt to become like their favorite Instagram influencers is negatively affecting their integrity and self-respect. The outcome of this feeble attempt is shown in different studies where we found girls who spend more time on social media to become like their favorite celebs have become isolated from their friend circles. They are not accepted by their friends.
There is a strong association between excessive social media usage and social isolation. Many studies have revealed that children and teens who spend too much time on social media have been isolated from their friend’s circles and are not accepted by their friends. In their attempt to not miss out on anything happening on social media, they miss out on the actual and real moments of their lives.
Lack of Concentration
Social media has a negative effect on students as well. Homework and school assignments require a great deal of concentration but now children have developed a habit of using social media simultaneously.
Most children think they can multitask i.e. use social media and complete their homework and assignments at one time but that is not possible. Constant interruption from social media puts a negative effect on attention and impacts learning and performance.
Social media has made children addicted to it than ever before. Uncontrolled and excessive use of social media among children has led to internet addiction. They are more likely to become addicted to social media if they spend too much time on it. If social media addiction is not controlled at the right time, it can affect children’s academic performance, mental health as well as their personal development.