Social Media

App and game developers use similar persuasive technology techniques to those used by the gambling industry, to make apps irresistible, compulsive and hard to stop.

 

Teens love social media, but they need your continual guidance and input, as it affects their self-worth, confidence and general mental health. Parents should be aware of the real age rating of apps, and that most of the popular social media platforms like Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok, are real-age rated 16+.

 

Use parental control filters to help kids manage their social media time, as well as filter  unwanted interactions like – cyberbullying, sexting and grooming by strangers.

 

Settings for apps can be changed to protect the identity and location of your kids, to keep them safer, as well as turning off the auto-play function to help them control instead of being controlled by their devices.

The mental health effects of social media consumption include - low self-esteem and depression; anxiety or fear of missing out; self-imposed isolation and disconnectedness from relationships; exhaustion or disrupted sleep patterns; difficulty concentrating and poor performance at work.

The key impact of social media is the compulsions it creates to keep checking the news feed of the different social media sites, which becomes an addictive habit. Some features such as ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ activate the reward centre in the brain, which is highly sensitive during adolescence. Being social creatures, we value interaction and connection, both of which determine how we think of ourselves.

Just as you keep an eye on your child in the real world, so you need to be aware of their digital life, too. Monitoring your child’s social media activity should include: checking and enforcing the age requirement of apps; checking the privacy setting on apps; installing parental controls; learning the online dialect; regularly checking up and checking in on your child.

The mental health effects of social media consumption include - low self-esteem and depression; anxiety or fear of missing out; self-imposed isolation and disconnectedness from relationships; exhaustion or disrupted sleep patterns; difficulty concentrating and poor performance at work.

Social media consumption is like any addiction, once the high wears off, you’ll find yourself on edge, unable to concentrate, and desperate to get your next fix. It’s all-consuming. You engage less with friends and family and increasingly look to your phone for comfort and companionship.You also become more sedentary, preferring to explore virtually and live life vicariously through your social media app.

Time spent on social media or thinking about it, disrupts school work, sports, study, and other productive activities. The substantial amount of wasted time can result in poor grades in school. Some kids realise that they are wasting a lot of time on social media, which affects their mood negatively and also builds a defeatist attitude.

Talk to your kids about how to avoid and deal with online strangers, how to prevent revealing too much about themselves, and general internet safety. Encourage them to come to you for guidance when questionable content or situations arise.Educate yourself about social media, making sure you know upfront how it works and what your kids should and shouldn't do on it. Teach your kid about posting on sites and that all their online posts, comments, likes, and shares are a part of their digital footprint. Help them understand the importance of privacy and why their personal information needs to be protected. Install parental controls to help you check in and check up on your kids.

Not only is social media a tool to communicate, but it is also an important part of the lives of adolescents and young adults. It gives them an avenue to stay connected with their peers from sports teams, activity clubs, and classes, while also allowing them to network with others having similar interests. Social media can make people more empathetic, considerate, and relationship-oriented. Kids maintain long-term friendships with others by staying in touch with them online, even when they can no longer meet each other in person.

Building healthy social media habits is crucial to avoiding potential mental health risks. Usage should be moderate and balanced with real social time with family and friends.

The 100's of adverts, images and videos we see on social media each, project a false reality of an "ideal life", subconsciously chipping away at your confidence and self-esteem.

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Downloads related to this topic

  • APP and Game Settings

  • Social Media Real Age Guide

  • Teen Acronym Guide

  • Teen Emoticon Guide

  • Teen Emoji Guide

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