Social media is gaining popularity for all negative aspects nowadays! It is having a worse impact on mental health. We need to enforce strict rules and educate the society to use social media in such a way that it is helpful than harmful!
Some commonly faced problems by parents across the world due to social media access by kids include:
Put a Full stop
Parents should take every possible action from their end to stop such social media addiction in their kids. It is the duty of the parent to regulate:
On the Brighter Side
Anything has its pros and cons and so does social media. If you look at it from the positive side, social media is the best platform for introverts to start mingling with people, at least virtually initially. Also, research has found that many kids use social media sites to cheer their friends when they are upset or share happiness with them.
Social media sites are also introducing various methods to regulate access to kids. Some governments have suggested these sites to provide a flashy pop-up message alerting people who have been accessing the internet for prolonged periods and asking them to give a ‘break’. Although the lower age limit is 13 years to enroll in some of the social media sites, many children don’t follow this, and parents too don’t pay attention.
The age between 8-13 is when kids neither listen to their parents nor are capable of taking decisions on their own and these children believe in what they see. Allowing them to access online sites at such a tender age can cause anxiety, stress and depression in these children. It can affect their food choices, dressing style and lifestyle choices due to the various ads and videos that spring up in these sites.
There are an increasing number of social media-based depression cases that are diagnosed by psychiatrists and the situation is only worsening. It is critical that physicians sit down with parents and guide them on age-appropriate use of any media including television, radio, music, games and the Internet.
Parents might be awed by their kids’ Internet handling ability and might even be confused if they should curb them from using the net or not. A wise parent knows how to encourage his/her children to use the Internet for beneficial purposes and also knows how to create a safe environment for such usage.
Prolonged use of media can affect a child’s postural development, increases risk of obesity, denies social participation and makes the child develop addiction towards the media platform. There is also the lingering concern of young children getting exposed to pornographic sites. Parents must use technology to block access to such sites but should also supervise their kids’ media use regularly.
The Internet has a wealth of information which can be used for both, good and bad purposes. Families must explore media together and must be encouraged to voice their opinion, appreciation or criticism on what they see in the media. Older children can plan for some weekend activities, parents can chalk out creative ways to spend time together and should follow the rules themselves. Parent holding on to their mobile phones all the time and advising their children to refrain from using it is not good parenting. The rule remains the same across all age groups. Schools should also speak about the Internet and encourage children to use it wisely.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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