The present generation of children and teens are growing up immersed in digital media. They are exposed to media in all forms, including TV, computers, smartphones, and other screens. Because media can impact the way children and teens feel, learn, think, and behave, it is imperative for parents to constantly monitor children’s use of social media. According to a blog post published by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) on Nov 15, 2017, which states;
71% of all teens are using more than one social networking site
41% of all teens use Facebook
20% of all teens use Instagram
11% of all teens use Snapchat
6% of all teens use Twitter
• Sleep Problems
Children and teens who spend more time on social media or who sleep with mobile devices in their rooms are at a greater risk of sleep problems. Exposure to blue light and stimulating content from screens can delay or disrupt sleep and have a negative effect on school.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person and it has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Cyber-bullying can lead to negative effects towards teenagers like, depression, anger issues, low self-esteem and suicide which can lead to the them skipping school as well as have bad social skills.
•Lack of Social Skills
Teenagers who spend a lot of time online tend to lack social skills such as basic communication skills, empathy and problem-solving skills. These skills are not learned and cannot be taught through an online platform.
Another major reason is the issue of predators using social networks, chat rooms, e-mail, and online games to contact and exploit children. This is very risky as children or teens do not really know the identity of who they are chatting with.
Social media can be useful for teenagers mainly because it aids communication between peers, but it also has its negative effects on teenagers. Therefore, it is necessary that the parents or guardians take necessary actions to prevent these negative effects on children and teens. Some guidelines for healthy media use include;
• Check your children's social media use for their health and safety.
• Do not let children use social media while doing homework.
• Plan media-free times together, such as family dinners.
• Decide on media-free zones in the house, such as bedrooms.
• Avoid exposure to screens one (1) hour before bedtime. Do not let your children sleep with devices such as smartphones.