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How does social media affect a child’s mental health?
We all have become addicted to social media to some extent. Some of us scroll our social media accounts when we get some spare time from work. Some look at their social media feeds as soon as they wake up. And like us, social media has become an essential part of teenagers' life. But unlike us, they do not know the impact of social media on mental health.
What research says?
Studies have shown mixed results, with some showing negative results while others showing positive results. Some studies found that children who passively use social media, such as scrolling the content, are more likely to feel depressed. These studies also suggest that children who are actively involved in social media, such as making posts, liking, sharing and commenting on other posts, are less likely to experience anxiety or depression.
Other studies suggest that likes or comments on one’s photo or short videos activate specific regions of the brain (reward centre), which makes teens want more likes on their posts. The areas of the brain that get triggered by social media likes are the same when we see pictures of our loved ones.
Negative impacts of social media
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that takes place online, usually through social media platforms. Cyberbullies do this to humiliate and discourage an individual or group of individuals. They use several tactics to harm the victim, which include spreading rumours, sharing hurtful and embarrassing content, and sending threatening messages. All this has a wide range of effects on children, which includes mental health issues, poor academic performance and suicidal ideation. But the good news is that there are various ways by which we can protect our children from cyberbullying, such as.
Raising awareness- We can protect our kids by spreading awareness and educating them about cyberbullying and its consequences.
Monitoring and reporting- Parents can keep an eye on what their kids are doing online to look for any indications of cyberbullying. You can speak with them and encourage them to inform the appropriate authorities about any incidents of cyberbullying.
2. Comparison and self-esteem
Social media exposes children to such images of people and their lifestyles, which can lead to a feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy. Social media can also make them seek validation from their friends, which can damage their self-confidence and self-esteem. However, parents can help mitigate the negative effects of social media by limiting children’s screen time and engaging them in activities that boost their confidence, such as sports, dancing, music, swimming, etc. Best nursery schools in Baddi help children develop self-esteem in several ways, including providing a nurturing environment, encouraging positive self-talk and providing support and guidance.
3. Sleep problems
Social media is a lively platform that can make your children engage in several activities, such as posting, talking, and scrolling. Though this does not lead to mental health issues, it can impact the sleeping pattern of children if they use social media late at night, in particular. According to studies, increased screen time leads to symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as poor attention span. Just like adults, teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep. And extensive use of social media can impact their sleep, leading to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Positive impacts of social media
Social media facilitates students to communicate and collaborate with their classmates. They can share their ideas with their peers and ask questions from their teachers. Children also get access to a wide variety of resources from social media. They can follow the social media accounts of different study groups and enhance their knowledge. Social media also provide emotional support to children experiencing mental health issues. They can connect with their friends/family and get advice on any issues. Social media can play a constructive role in a child's future by allowing them to communicate and work collaboratively with their peers, granting them access to a diverse range of educational resources, and introducing them to inspirational role models.
Positive role models
Social media can help children meet positive role models, which can boost their self-confidence. For example, the social media account of a cricketer can motivate a young boy/girl to pursue his/her career in cricket. Similarly, a mathematician or astrophysicist can inspire children to study science and physics.
How can technology help students with their studies?
As mentioned in the previous section, social media helps students in their studies by providing them with access to several online resources. And technology assists students in a lot of ways, such as-
1. Personalised learning
Technology allows students to learn at their own pace and style, which is not possible in a conventional classroom. Vivek international public school apply technology to better engage students with the academic curriculum and enhance their learning experience.
2. Organisation and productivity
Tools and apps enable children to stay organised and manage their time wisely. These apps also help them track their progress and monitor their habits on a day-to-day basis.
3. Engagement in Learning.
Educational games and virtual reality make learning more interactive and engaging for students, which helps children keep information for a long time.
At last, parents should monitor their children as social media has far-reaching effects. Parents should tell their children about the risk associated with social media and its benefits. Children must be encouraged to live a balanced lifestyle, which includes exercise, hobbies and offline social interaction.