ExpressVPN’s research stated teenagers are more exposed to the perils of social media. In 2021, 99% of kids between the ages of three and 17 utilised the internet. With 89% of kids utilising it, YouTube was the most widely used platform. Most children used TikTok, a well-known platform for watching and sharing short films.
Most social networking networks demand that users be at least 13 years old. The study showed that most kids under 13 have profiles on at least one social media app or website. Children aged five to seven were reported to have profiles by one-third of parents, while children aged eight to eleven were reported to have profiles by 60% of parents.
Getting around these age limitations is not a tough undertaking. Youngsters enter a fictitious age while creating an account. Meanwhile, some kids have separate profiles for their parents and pals on the same site.
Impact on children
While researchers are still learning about the effects of social media on kids, one study found that kids under 11 who use Instagram and Snapchat are more likely to engage in problematic digital behaviours and visit harmful sites. They are also more likely to engage in online harassment.
According to the same study, restricting a child’s time on social media may mitigate some drawbacks of accessing it at such a young age.
TikTok users among kids are having severe problems. They have a movement disorder brought on by stress and anxiety, which is probably exacerbated by the pandemic and teens’ increased use of social media.
Children’s daily conduct at home may alter in addition to their harmful internet practices.
- Increased irritability.
- Increased anxiety.
- Lack of self-esteem.
Parents may notice anger or annoyance when asking children to put down their devices and complete their assignments. They are being asked to quit doing something they like and start doing something they don’t want to do.
Kids & media use: by the numbers
The two years after the pandemic have seen a quicker increase in media consumption among tweens (ages 8 to 12) and adolescents (ages 13 to 18) than the four years prior. According to the study, children aged 8 to 12 spend, on average, five and a half hours each day using devices and absorbing media. For teenagers, that pace increases to more than eight and a half hours daily.
Teenagers reported using social media and internet videos 79% of the time, and 32% stated they “wouldn’t want to live without” YouTube. Also, nearly two-thirds (65%) of tweens reported that they play games on a smartphone or tablet, view internet videos (64%), and watch TV (43%).
Children of lower-income households have the highest average daily screen usage rates. Between 6.5 and 7.5 hours per day were spent on entertainment screens by these teenagers and preteens. Parents of younger kids (under 12) expressed concern about their kids spending too much time in front of devices 71% of the time.
Tips for parents to control the usage of social
Social media can be a significant distraction, disrupt sleep, and affect academic performance. Kids may remain up late without their parents noticing they are not asleep if technology use is unchecked. Ultimately, it might be challenging for children to switch off from technology at all times of the day.
So, what can parents or other family members do to assist?
- Start your research. Find out which applications are the most utilised by speaking to instructors and other parents or conducting your research to learn more.
- Create technology-free areas and times in your house, such as the dining room table and before bed. Before going to bed, gather your laptops, tablets, and phones.
- Children’s photos aren’t always to be trusted. It’s possible that your youngster isn’t happy just because they upload several “selfies” of themselves grinning. Social media is sometimes like a “highlight reel,” showing the best parts of children’s lives. Continually check on them to see how they are doing in reality.
- Lastly, let your children know it’s okay to talk to you and encourage them. Unfiltered and uncensored, let them know how much you adore them and are proud of them.
You may motivate your kid to do the same by being active. For example, you could take an exercise class together, go to the gym, have a dance party, or go for walks. Enrol your child in a season or a few particular sports or hobbies. Set time limits for your child’s screen time to encourage them to get active. Engaging in fun physical activities with your child exemplifies that physical health is essential.