We eat, we sleep, we check social media, we repeat … without realizing that it isn’t real
Is social media running children’s lives? This is a significant question. In last Monday’s class, I had the opportunity to debate this topic. My partner Gunpreesh, I, and Dami debated on the ‘agree’ side of the statement that social media is ruining childhood, while Jennifer, Mike Gerrior, and Shivali argued against us that it is not ruining childhood. My partners and I started researching and found a lot of evidence that shows social media definitely affects children today. There was a lot of research on the effects of social media in childhood like The Impact of Social Media on Children, it discusses the issues of today’s and future generations who are growing up with social media. It discusses how addictive social media can be, as well as how sad it may make our youth. The author’s major goal is to discuss the dangers of social media and how it affects children on a daily basis. Another article, Is social media ruining kids’ childhood?, also discusses how social media has taken away our kid’s creativity, it also affects our children’s health(mental, emotional psychological, physical and social). causes changes in friendships and relationships. etc. In short, Kids’ development and growth are affected by social media usage.
One study out of the University of Pittsburgh, for example, found a correlation between time spent scrolling through social media apps and negative body image feedback. Those who had spent more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media. The participants who spent the most time on social media had 2.6 times the risk.
A separate study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young kids spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression
Most social media apps require users to be at least 13 years old. But in a recent poll, parents shared that 50% of children 10 to 12 years old and 33% of children 7 to 9 years old use social media apps. Social media makes it easy to compare oneself to another. Children younger than 11 years old who use Instagram and Snapchat are more likely to have problematic digital behaviors like having online-only friends and visiting sites parents would disapprove of, as well as a greater chance of taking part in online harassment. One of the study show statistics and facts about how the social media destroying kids physically and mentally and its negative effects on academic life. Another study talks about how children who use TikTok are developing tics and having tic-like attacks. They’re experiencing a movement disorder brought on by stress and anxiety — presumably made worse by the pandemic and teens’ increased social media consumption.
In addition to problematic digital behaviors, there may be changes in children’s daily behavior at home like:
If kids are being asked to get off social media and do their homework, then parents might see increased periods of irritability or frustration directed towards parents.
Nowadays, social media is been used as a tool for cyberbullying and online predators, it is considered to be the worst outcome of social media. As disagree team argue that cyberbullying and online predator’s are outdated problems but it is not true. According to Common Sense Media Census 2021, the biggest threat to childhood in terms of using social media is cyberbullying which has affected more than 1 in 5 children aged 10-12 years. The Internet and social media platforms have also kicked the doors wide open for child predators to hunt, lure, and groom victims online as the studies shows. In 2020, reports of online child predator incidents spiked more than 97%, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. And, according to the FBI, each offender may sexually extort dozens—sometimes hundreds—of young victims.
Social media lead to cyberbullying because children are able to remove themselves emotionally, as it is easier to say hurtful things online behind the screen that they never able say face to face because they do not have to deal with an emotional reaction. Cyber Bullied kid experienced abusive, online behavior, including name calling, rumor-spreading, and receiving unwanted explicit images and threats from their peers by sending, posting, or sharing mean or hurtful comments. Which may lead to anxiety, depression, severe isolative behaviors, and this may even lead to suicide or self harm in some cases.
We all know a lot of the stuff on social media and the internet isn’t real,” which might lead kids to believe in false realities. Adults may be able to spot misleading marketing strategies on fake YouTube, Instagram posts, or any other Social Media platform but kids aren’t that lucky.
A new study finds that one in five YouTube videos watched by kids age eight and under contained ads that were not age-appropriate.
Same as the case with the harmful content that is present in the social media, as Social media is a very addictive platform where children will go to any length to gain attention. Self-harming acts are becoming more popular, and people are publishing them on social media to get attention.
When kids witness other people doing similar things, they don’t waste any time in copying them in order to achieve the same level of popularity. This can result in failed experiments and negative outcomes. Children, on the other hand, perceive it as a sign of bravery and courage to demonstrate their authority to others.
Even though most of us are aware of these facts, we determine that we do not wish to abandon social media. We don’t want to succumb to Fomo, which stands for “fear of missing out.” We look at nicely crafted Instagram images that capture people’s pleasant moments and wonder why we aren’t as happy or content as they are. We just need to realize, that it isn’t real. It’s all just for show. However, a disagreeing team gives an argument about parents’ supervision and guidance. It may be said that parental controls are only one component of guiding children toward safe use of social media apps. I may agree to it up to a certain level. but kids of today’s generation who have grown up with technology know-how to bypass or find loopholes in these control like multiple fake accounts or finta (another word for a fake Instagram account) or even some parents don’t know how to supervise or guide their children, as some parents says “We have no control over this”, as they face challenges with kids’ social media use.
Thus, I may say that social media has a variety of effects on children, but the negative aspects much exceed the positive effects. I’ve discovered that social media has a greater impact on children’s growing brains, with long-term effects. Violence and aggressive behavior, sexual content, body image and self-esteem, physical health, and academic performance were some of the negative effects of social media.