For quite a long time, it has been a topic for debate whether the use of social media is a new major problem for children. Although such things as communication, watching videos, and sharing photos are controversial and might occur in different ways and with different frequencies, there is an issue that the parents should definitely take into account – the decreased attention span. There are many studies that demonstrate how increased internet usage and presence on social media can be a negative factor for the attention, memory and learning skills of both adults and children. Considering this topic is important as it might impact children’s life, studies and mental health.
It is great, to a certain extent, that communication, searching for information, and watching whatever one wants to is easy and quick with the help of social media. Although it is often debated whether children should be allowed to use various online services, there are truly some benefits of such activities. For example, children can maintain long-term friendships with people they might not see in person, and they can better socialise through various online apps. Additionally, social media can be a great way to spend free time, and it indeed offers some useful information on certain blogs and specific websites. However, all these things are good for children as long as the online presence and time spent on social media are regulated because their attention span can most definitely be damaged by the constant use of social networks.
What are the risks?
The use of social media, as well as the internet in general, has long been connected to potential problems amongst children. However, the latest developments have made it clear that the use of social media is now overwhelming among children. In the United Kingdom, one study has found that people spend around 50 full days online a year. There are also certain risks that the use of social media poses for children, and that should be considered by parents.
– First of all, the increased reliance on social media, as well as multitasking during studying, decreases the time of attention that children focus on tasks.
– Secondly, the fact that children search a lot of information online makes them feel like they have more knowledge than they truly possess.
– Thirdly, the increased presence online (up to several hours a day) distracts children from factual learning, which is a negative factor that also negatively impacts children’s memory.
– Lastly, one study has found that people who look for information they need online are less likely to recall it when necessary than the ones who learn it from books.
Thus, it is evident that there are reasons to worry. Social media has a questionable impact on children. They are less likely to study well because of decreased attention and increased time spent on the internet. Therefore, parents should think of some ways in which they can ensure that their children do not overuse social media and regulate their use of the internet in general.
How to deal with this?
– Encourage offline activities, including physical activeness.
– Limit the use of phones at the dinner table especially during mealtimes.
– Encourage the use of offline books and other sources of information.
– Regulate the time that children spend online; limit it to under 2 hours per day.
– Try to ensure that children do not spend their time on useless or even destructive things online.
– Provide children with the ability to choose their own but suggest subscribing to some truly valuable sours of information.
– Ensure that children are not facing bullying online.