Social media and children

Social media. It’s an extremely time consuming factor that has taken over the lives of many, including myself.

What’s the first thing that I do when I wake up? I check my phone for notifications. I’ll scroll endlessly through my news feeds, and ‘like’ photos that appear on the tiny pixelated screen in my hands. Although it accounts for a significant portion of what I do each day, I think that I have a good handle on my time management skills, as do many others in my age group. However, this is most likely not the case for adolescents under the age of 18.

Self-esteem issues can arise from networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. When a teenager logs onto their Instagram account, they might see a friend who posted about their fun night out, or see a group photo of kids who appear to be of a higher social status than them. They might have thoughts about why they weren’t invited to that particular hangout, or think that they aren’t popular enough to achieve the certain amount of ‘likes’ that their peers have. I’ve seen these habits develop with my siblings, so I can actually confirm first-hand that social media has had an impact on them.

I recently went out to eat with my relatives, and noticed that two of my cousins were huddled up in the back of the restaurant with an iPad, watching the latest episode of Transformers on Netflix. As soon as I walked over to say hi, they noticed my presence and hid under the table. I mentioned this to my uncle, who replied, “Oh, it’s okay. They’ll cry if I take away the device.” I was shocked and disappointed by the issue, but I had to come to terms with the fact that society has morphed into a media consuming monster. As time progresses, habits will most likely worsen. However, I looked at this from a different perspective, and began to understand this habit. I noticed that parents are calmer and less stressed out with their children. These god-like devices serve a purpose; they are used as a distracting mechanism in which children can engulf themselves in another world, and temporarily forget about their problems.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that everyone – not just children, should put down their devices for at least a few minutes each day. Take the time to notice your surroundings. Encourage kids to peel their eyes away from the screen. It may end up helping them in the long run, and you might get a good conversation out of it.