In our times, we would agree to meet at a certain place at a certain time, and give or take about 10 minutes, and spend time together. But ‘chilling time’ today is a different ball-game. First, our teenagers decide what they want to do over the friends’ social groups. Thereafter, the time is decided and when each person is leaving they ping each other. People who have not arrived are pinged on through these messengers. This is followed by clicking selfies that promptly go up on all platforms starting from facebook, twitter, instagram and so on. That’s the daily life of our teenager – lived out on social media.
This is a dangerous trend that needs to be clipped in its bud before it turns out to be of monstrous proportions. This section about social media addiction can be divided into three parts – impact on the teenager, effects on their development, steps to help get out of this addiction.
Impact on the Teenager
Excessive exposure to social media via any of the screens that have made an advent into our lives can ring a dangerous bell for our teenagers. Research has shown that 80% of time spent on the internet is spent on social media sites. This addiction can cause sleepless hours spent in front of the computer or iPad trying to see what’s happening in the virtual space in real-time. Obsession with immediate responses is also a trademark that characterizes this generation. Teenagers affected by this problem tend to become withdrawn from family and friends, and develop terrible mood swings.
Effects of Social Media on Development
Turning to social media is a sure sign of escaping from the rest of the world. The lack of need to communicate in person or by using the spoken word can be the biggest undoing of all the development this phase promises to deliver with its technology. Various traits of the personality such as emotional development and social behaviour are two important ones, that teenagers develop only from interacting with one another face-to-face – and not from a media app.
Steps to Overcome this Addiction
The first ground rule to set when giving your teenager access to the internet is limiting this access. Allowing gadgets in the bedroom where he can have non-supervised access is the worst idea. Ensure the computer is placed in the family room and there are set hours for interaction on social media. Thus, not only are you limiting time of access, you are leaving it open for checks to ensure that technology is being used well.
Research has proven that there is definitely a co-relation between brain development and the presence of media screen in a child’s life. A child glued to social media will be far less aggressive or even accepting of an event.