Limit time on social media, especially for kids

Alyssa Monroe

During COVID, we have seen ourselves on social media more than usual, which is expected. We can all agree that social media has its pros and cons, however, I think we need to limit our time spent on social media not only due to the negative side effects but their implications on our long-term mental health

When people look at people’s highlights online and feel as if they’re excluded from an activity, it can affect them physically and emotionally.

A 2018 British study at the McLean Hospital suggests prolonged social media usage can cause delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance. There have been many studies that show a strong link between heavy social media use and the increased risk of depression.

I don’t think research is necessary to show how we feel more depressed the more we use social media That is not to say social media/technology is inherently bad. I love that my niece is able to have the technology to help her with her schoolwork; I think it has helped expand her knowledge. However, we also have to look at the pitfalls of social media especially every time I see her with a phone in her hand.

When I was a kid, I would go outside, be physically active, and use my imagination to have fun in my own way. Now that she has a smartphone, there’s no imagination being used the same way since it is all out there on social media. According to social displacement theory, more time on social media means less time one is likely to spend socializing face-to-face. Ironically, social media was created to increase this interaction, but not in a way we were expecting.

It also distracts her during school because she feels the need to text her friends all the time and constantly film TikToks. She’s so addicted to technology and social media that she causes a big scene whenever she can’t have it. I think restricting kids’ phone usage would help curb this behavior.

Another downside of social media is that its convenience increases the likelihood of spreading fake news and causing confusion among readers. I think we all experienced our fair share of fake news during COVID, and we are all on our phones trying to figure out what is going on with the world. But anyone with an Internet connection can create fake news, even though platforms try to stop it. In my opinion, social media encourages antisocial behavior.

Something that older generations never got to experience is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is at an all-time high (59% of teens) according to Pew Research. Social media can create opportunities to meet like-minded people in fostering positive relationships, but it can also mean encountering many of its pitfalls such as this. According to a recent study by Science Daily, cyberbullying is linked to depression and suicide among teenagers with reports suggesting that cyberbullying is on the increase.

Overall, I think it’s important to limit time on social media to younger generations.

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