Social networking websites made our lives significantly easier when it comes to keeping in touch with those we care about even if they happen to live across the world from us. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and a dozen of other apps and websites with the elements of social interaction, are used every single day by children and parents alike. However, when the use of these social networking sites interferes with a person's perception of reality and his or her attitude towards everyday activities and real-life communication, it's time to address the issue. While social media addiction can happen to anyone, there is no doubt that children are especially prone to developing this problem.
There is nothing inherently bad with interacting with friends online or exchanging the photos, but for a lot of children the line between the virtual world and offline reality can become quite blurred. The role of the parents in this age of social networking is to be aware of the dangers and not let the child escape the reality by completely submerging oneself in the illusion created by the social media.
According to the survey conducted by the organization dealing with addictions and substance abuse CASA Columbia, 70 % of the teenagers aged 12 to 17 admit to spending time on social networking websites every single day. The representatives of CASA Columbia have also analyzed the situation regarding the children exposure to the information and images not appropriate for their age group. According to the responses, more than 90 % of active Facebook users saw the photos of people being drunk, smoking, and using drugs at the age 15 and younger.
The extensive research performed by the University of Amsterdam shows that approximately 5 % of young teenagers fall into the group of addicted to social media. The analysis of children's behavior was based on the same criteria that are used to determine whether a person suffers from gaming addiction. Professor Valkenburg from the University of Amsterdam claims that an average teenager in the Netherlands actively uses social media websites for 3 hours a day. It can be safely said that the situation is similar to other countries that have easy access to the Internet.
The study conducted by the UK National Citizen Service shows that most young girls in this digital age prefer not to discuss their problems with parents, but rather turn to social media for comfort and distraction. The greatest sources of stress at this age include exam results, decisions concerning the future, and problems in relationships with friends.
During their years of formation, children are especially impressionable, and they take in all the information around them like sponges, which makes them an easy target. Social media websites are created to play on human emotions, and one of the biggest buttons they push is the fear of missing out. No human being wants to feel isolated from the rest of the society, and social networking websites make sure that this doesn't happen. They create an illusion of being constantly present and acknowledged by the peers, thus making a person feel safe and adequate.
A lot of children and teenagers suffer from self-esteem issues, thus looking into social media for approval and attention. It's especially relevant in situations when children don't receive enough support and communication from their parents or offline friends. The article “Why Social Media Is So Addictive” by Tom Lowery provides the information that over 80 % of posts on the social networking websites are about the poster. In such a way, these types of websites are the great sources of social validation for children and adults. However, it is a vicious circle because online interactions are usually quite superficial, and they drive a child even further away from the people in their real lives.
In these situations, it's much easier to deal with the issues at early stages than when your children cannot imagine their lives without Facebook or other social media websites. Teentor, the extensive cell phone spy software, is highly recommended to all parents who want to protect their kids from any social media harm. The software allows you to monitor and restrict the activity of your child when it comes to any social media websites.
According to the report provided by Lawrence Wilson, MD, for the Center of Development, there are a number of symptoms that can give you the clues to whether a person may be suffering from social media addiction. It should be noted, that in some cases the symptoms of addiction can be quite subtle, but it doesn't mean that the problem is not there. The following signs can serve as the general guidelines for determining the social media addiction among children:
While being obsessed with posting pictures and texting friends on social media is never good, there are a number of other dangers that can be associated with social media. The article on cyberbullying by Stephanie Pappas on Livescience.com links this phenomenon to the depressions experienced by teenagers. A lot of teenagers who have self-esteem issues resort to bullying others, and social networking sites provide a convenient, and often anonymous, opportunity to do this. According to the studies mentioned in the article, approximately 23 % of teenagers admit to being bullied online while about 15 % of kids reported that they had previously bullied other children on social media. The numbers can be even higher because not all teenagers are ready to share this information with others either because of fear or guilt.
While it's almost impossible and not very beneficial to ban your child from social media completely, you should still be aware of their online activity to protect them. One of the great ways to do that is by using a tracking app, such as Teentor that allows you to control the social media activity of your kid. With the help of text message spy function, you can view the texts received by your child, and thus you can immediately react if there are any incidents of cyberbullying. It's essential to prevent such harmful situations before they get out of hand.
The influence of too much time spent in front of the computer screen cannot be underestimated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the maximum screen time, including TVs and computers, should not exceed 2 hours a day. There are a number of physical issues that can develop as a result of constant online activity. The main problems include:
Besides the development of physical issues, overexposure to social media can negatively influence the mental state of the child and cause:
When it comes to managing the addictive behavior of your children, prohibiting the use of Internet is definitely not a realistic expectation. After all, it is still a great way to keep in touch with friends. The most important thing in preventing the development of social media addiction is paying attention to your child's behavior. It's important to ensure that your child has plenty of things going on offline to keep him or her interested. It includes various hobbies, events, meetings with friends and going out with the family. In some cases, consulting a professional may be extremely beneficial if social media addiction is already present.
When we talk about ensuring the safety of your children online, it can be done using the software created specifically with the intention of managing your kids' Internet activity. Teentor is the effective spy software designed to be installed on your child's device and give you an opportunity to regulate his or her social media interactions. This cell phone spyware makes it possible for you to limit the use of certain websites and choose which content is appropriate for a child of a certain age group. You should never take the dangers of social media lightly and make sure you're prepared before any addictive behavior has a chance to develop.