These days, most of us access social media via our smartphones or tablets. While this makes it very convenient to keep in touch, it also means that social media is always accessible. This round-the-clock, hyper connectivity can trigger impulse control problems, the constant alerts and notifications affecting Childrens concentration and focus, disturbing their sleep, and making them addicted to their phone.
Social media platforms are designed to snare children’s attention, keep them online, and have them repeatedly checking their screen for updates. It’s how the companies make money. Much like social media can use and create psychological cravings. When the children receive a like, a share, or a favourable reaction to a post, it can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, the same “reward” chemical that follows an adult winning on a slot machine, The more children are rewarded, the more time they want to spend on social media, even if it becomes detrimental to other aspects of their life’s.
Also there is A fear of missing out that can keep them returning to social media over and over again. Even though there are very few things that can’t wait or need an immediate response, A fear of missing out will have them believing otherwise. Perhaps they are worried that they will be left out of the conversation at school or work if they miss the latest news or gossip on social media? Or maybe they feel that they will suffer if they don’t immediately like, share, or respond to other people’s posts? Or they could be worried they will miss out on an invitation or that other people are having a better time than them.
Helping a child or teen with unhealthy social media use
Childhood and the teenage years can be filled with developmental challenges and social pressures. For some kids, social media has a way of exacerbating those problems and fueling anxiety, bullying, depression, and issues with self-esteem. If you’re worried about your child’s social media use, it can be tempting to simply confiscate their phone or other device. But that can create further problems, separating your child from their friends and the positive aspects of social media. Instead, there are other ways to help your child use Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms in a more responsible way.
Monitor and limit your child’s social media use. The more you know about how your child is interacting on social media, the better you’ll be able to address any problems. Parental control apps can help limit your child’s data usage or restrict their phone use to certain times of the day. You can also adjust privacy settings on the different platforms to limit their potential exposure to bullies or predators.
Talk to your child about underlying issues. Problems with social media use can often mask deeper issues. Is your child having problems fitting in at school? Are they suffering from shyness or social anxiety? Are problems at home causing them stress?
Enforce “social media” breaks. For example, you could ban social media until your child has completed their homework in the evening, not allow phones at the dinner table or in their bedroom, and plan family activities that preclude the use of phones or other devices. To prevent sleep problems, always insist phones are turned off at least one hour before bed.
Teach your child how social media is not an accurate reflection of people’s lives. They shouldn’t compare themselves or their lives negatively to others on social media. People only post what they want others to see. Images are manipulated or carefully posed and selected. And having fewer friends on social media doesn’t make your child less popular or less worthy.
Encourage exercise and offline interests. Get your child away from social media by encouraging them to pursue physical activities and hobbies that involve real-world interaction. Exercise is great for relieving anxiety and stress, boosting self-esteem, and improving mood—and is something you can do as a family. The more engaged your child is offline, the less their mood and sense of self-worth will be dependent on how many friends, likes, or shares they have on social media.
Many children use social media as a “security blanket”. Whenever they are in a social situation and feel anxious, awkward, or lonely, they turn to their phones and log on to social media. Of course, interacting with social media only denies them the face-to-face interaction that can help ease anxiety but many do not realise that there is also a dark side in social media where predators look for opportunities.Heavy social media use could be masking other underlying problems, such as stress, depression, or boredom. If they spend more time on social media when they are feeling down, lonely, or bored, children may be using it as a way to distract themselves from unpleasant feelings or self-soothe their moods. Christoforos charity foundation has been formed to offer children the opportunity to get involved with us in ways of youth club days, trips, tours, competitions, activities such as rugby, football, all this will help make children realise that its not all about staying at home and playing computer games or on their phones constantly and on social media and forums and raising money will help all this to happen and keep children occupied and feel special and involved. Of course all these activities are totally free for the children.
Christoforos Charity Foundation feels it’s very important to make awareness to parents and with the use of our website and assembly days with the support of Saint Marys High School Cheshunt and the Hertfordshire police and the backing of local other schools where assemblies will be held to bring awareness to parents. It’s common with many children who enjoy Spending more time on social media than with real world friends. Using social media has become a substitute for a lot of their offline social interaction. Even if they are out with friends, they still feel the need to constantly check social media, often driven by feelings that others may be having more fun than them. Our charity apart from the activities that we will be offering to children entirely free we will offer children Leflets at the end of the activity day reminding them of some of the following:
- Use an app to track how much time you spend on social media each day. Then set a goal for how much you want to reduce it by.
- Turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as having dinner with your family, spending time with offline friends, or playing with board games with your parents. Don’t take your phone with you to the bathroom.
- Don’t bring your phone or tablet to bed. Turn devices off and leave them in another room overnight to charge.
- Disable social media notifications. It’s hard to resist the constant buzzing, beeping, and dinging of your phone alerting you to new messages. Turning off notifications can help you regain control of your time and focus.
- Limit checks. If you compulsively checking your phone every few minutes, wean yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 30 minutes. Then once every 40 minutes, then once an hour. There are apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone.
- Try removing social media apps from your phone so you can only check Facebook for example and the like from your tablet or computer. If this sounds like too drastic a step, try removing one social media app at a time to see how much you really miss it.