In today’s COVID-19 world, social media is more important to our children than ever. We need to understand that they need it to keep in contact with friends they can’t see in person. But, we don’t want it to become harmful either.
I’ve wondered for years how social media is affecting our teens, and I’m thankful we never had Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat when I was a kid. I’m also glad it wasn’t a thing when my kids were young. I remember MySpace was introduced when my kids were around middle school aged and a few kids in their Catholic school posted provocative pictures. It didn’t go over well, needless to say.
An article in The Baltimore Sun by Andrea K. Mcdaniels called, Parents’ concern: Is social media bad for teenagers? has quite a few experts and studies weighing in. They’ve found good and bad outcomes, but it seems to me the bad ones outweigh the good.
The list of problems with social media includes sleeping problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide. Does anyone see a problem with this trend? I’ve written about my concerns about social media and how it affects on kids here.
Have you ever had a relaxing day at the beach and watched young teens posing for that perfect Instagram pic? It’s quite funny to watch from a distance. I mean who goes to the beach with perfect hair and makeup? Not me! I prefer a big hat, a ponytail and a good book, thank you very much.
Where I live, we had a phenomenon called Desert X, a series of outdoor art installations that appeared in the Spring. One I call “The Selfie House” in reality is called “Mirage.” It’s a house installed with mirrors inside and out. It attracts young women dressed in bizarre outfits with friends with the sole purpose of getting a huge volume of social media clicks. The Los Angeles Times wrote about Mirage here.
Here’s a snippet from the article “Parents’ concern: Is social media bad for teenagers?”
“A study published earlier this year by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with support from the National Institutes of Health found that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and to experience symptoms of depression.
“Another study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the incidence of major depressive incidents has increased dramatically among teens, particularly among girls, and that cyber-bullying may be playing a role.
“At American University, researchers found a link between social media use and negative body image, which can lead to eating disorders.”
As parents, what can we do to keep tabs on how social media is affecting our kids?
Delay when your kids get smartphones.
Keep an eye on what they’re posting.
Talk to your kids about how social media is creating issues for many kids.
Be involved in your kids’ lives and pick up on cues if things seem off. Maybe social media is behind it.
What suggestions do you have to keep our kids safe from the bad effects of too much social media?