Harmful effects of technology and social media
Only one generation has fully emerged in a world of technology, making information very limited on the subject. Many are not aware of just how influential technology is on the everyday lives of humans. Technology is extremely accessible which means it has reached millions of children all over the world. How technology and media outlets may affect the children of society is often ignored or down played. Despite this, the harmful effects must be showcased to reach parents or guardians all over the world. Many are unaware of false and harmful information put on the internet that is feeding in the heads of many children. Young adolescents mental and physical well being are put at risk, and it must be brought to attention. Just because technology makes life convenient for the present, does not mean it will be beneficial for future lives. It is crucial the parental guardians monitor their children on devices and consider cutting their screen time down. By limiting screen time children will see a number of positive effects such as high confidence levels and better physical health. Increasing screen time exposes children to harmful side effects such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, all developed from technological devices and social media outlets.
Over these past few decades technology has been progressing at a rapid rate. The human race has come accustomed to working with and alongside technology on an everyday basis. Technology itself is known to be very innovative and beneficial to the lives of many, but since the tech world is seen as newer, the true effects are almost never brought to light. Devices such as smartphones, televisions, and computers are placed in front of the eyes virtually every age group, basically controlling the lives of millions. Due to the nature of the human race, society will learn how to evolve, and that is exactly what has happened. "Research shows that children develop internet skills long before their ninth birthday. Moreover, they are often more familiar with social media than adults around them" (Björktomta 90). Siv-Britt Björktomta has analyzed correctly because civilization has grown to be overly dependent on technology, having it control basically every feature of life. The first thing people do in the morning is check their smart device, and this is seen as normal. Almost every single job requires some type of technological aspect, making it virtually impossible to lean technology out of the lives of many. Although this topic is extremely broad, it is important that it is narrowed down to who is directly at risk to this situation. Baby Boomers, Generation Jones, Generation X, Xennials, and Millennials are the last to know what it's like to grow up without technology. The generation directly at risk is Generation Z, the first generation to fully grow up with screens in their hands, controlling their every move. Little information is known on how this may affect these young people in their future. It is also extremely difficult to understand what this young age group may be going through due to little relatability of the situation.
Technology and social media outlets are directly affecting children's mental and physical health, causing more cases of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. The extent of this problem is declining health in young adolescents, which must be taken very seriously. Going into more detail, new forms of anxiety are being brought out in young children mainly focussing on body image. This is an immediate concern because millions of young children are self conscious about their looks due to high standards amplified on media outlets. A big concern is that many do not know how fake social media can truly be. "On social media, people have been found to present the most attractive version of themselves" (Fardouly 3). "Parental Control of the Time Preadolescents Spend on Social Media: Links with Preadolescents' Social Media Appearance Comparisons and Mental Health", brings attention to the extent of this 'fake' social media problem. Parents must ask themselves if they are okay with the children's confidence constantly being tampered with. Another huge concern is children picking up false information upon these sites. It is not okay that children are so vulnerable to harsh information placed on the internet that could potentially affect their health. "Thus, while social consumers have general knowledge about food quality attributes, they lack specific information con- cerning sustainability" (Simeone 2). Simeone uses an example about false diet information that children could pick up that may hurt them. Parents must monitor what information their children are taking in from these devices.
When analyzing the repercussions of the problem long term mental health issues will stay with children until adulthood. Technology and media outlets have become dangerously abrasive, causing people to care too much about what others think of them. The idea of people pleasing will cause self worth concerns linking children to depressive thoughts. It is scary that so many children are dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts that could basically determine if these children have a future or not. Social media should not have the power to affect a child's life so effortlessly. "Policy decisions are influenced by perceived public opinion, which is in turn influenced by mass media representations of issues"( Awofeso 8). Awofeso analyzes the negative effects linked to trying to please anyone besides yourself. If a matter this influential never gets solved young adolescent lives could be at risk. With Generation Z already fully emerged, it is crucial to have other generations avoid the addicting aspects of technology. Richert emphasizes that, "Children as young as 2 years will use information on screen when they have had experience seeing themselves on television" (Richert 85). The engagement age in the tech world is so low and if this is not dealt with soon it will consume everyone in society. Society will no longer understand a healthy daily routine and links to an overall wellbeing.
Most importantly the parents of young children must be educated on this topic so they can keep their children from direct harm. Many parents may be naive to the repercussions technology and media outlets have on their children due to the lack of experience. Despite this, there must be a solution met to ultimately keep children from harmful side effects acquired from technology. "However, children are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to violence, both on the internet and elsewhere" (Björktomta 91). Siv-Britt Björktomta concludes in his work that children are at risk when active on social media. Parents or Guardians must limit their children's screen time to protect them from harmful side effects such as mental illnesses including depression and anxiety, and eating disorders. For example, there are many harmful body standards presented on social media causing confidence issues that many children will carry with them to adulthood. Jasmine Fardouly determined, "Because preadolescence is a period when girls and boys begin to use social media, and a period when they start to develop body image concerns and depressive symptoms, it is important to examine links between social media use and mental health during the preadolescent per- iod to determine when interventions are needed"(Fardouly 2). Fardouly accurately assessed that at such a crucial developmental stage in these adolescents' lives, they must avoid body image concerns ultimately leading to damaging mental health issues. All the more reason for parental guardians to consider limiting their child's screen time on devices.
Continuing the topic of limiting screen time, children often exceed the doctors recommended screen use on a daily basis. With technology emerging into classrooms, children are already coming home from school with hours of technical use under their belts. Although it is understandable that children are going to want to socialize on big media outlets such as Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram, there must be a line drawn between children and parents. Children can still socialize with their peers but also not exceed the recommended screen time. "Our current findings add additional concern to that already expressed because just over 30% of the children and adolescents in this study broke the < 2 hour recom- mendation on two or more separate SBMU activities" (Houghton 9). When studying links between child behavior and screen time, Houghton found that the excessive screen time is only rising and there must be other activities within a child's life besides technology. With this information, it can be concluded that slowing down technological use will overall benefit a child's physical, social, and behavioral contentment. It is important that parents come to a consensus to avoid relationship issues between them and their children. "Parents should therefore be encouraged to implement EECD limits on use during the daytime in addition to restrictions to bedroom accessibility and use during the hour before sleep" (Dube 12).
When conducting an experiment on how technology affects a child's weight and quality of sleep, Nomathemba Dube suggests limiting their screen time before bedtime will help sleep duration and weight status issues. These are important methods that will overall benefit a child's wellbeing.
While examining a short term solution, the long term extent of the situation must be analyzed and dealt with as well. When looking at the relationship between technology and children it can be concluded that many health defects can be picked up such as a binge eating disorder or anorexia. Health issues picked up super early in life can cause permanent damage to the human body. Looking in a long term perspective it is important that parents educate their children on the dangers of technology and social media. Technology has many links to childhood obesity by promoting laziness but also spreading false health information on social media, causing anxiety on body image in young adolescents. "Excessive media engagement, exemplified by TV installation in children's bedrooms is commonly considered a feature of obesogenic environments"(Awofeso 1). Niyi Awofeso brings attention to weight problems caused by too much screen time. While limiting screen time is more of a short term fix, limiting some technological devices as a whole will put children back on track for a prosperous future. By educating children on proper diet and exercise routines, the effects from social devices will not be as prominent. Dube brings attention to the links between long term health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and bad cholesterol to access digital use. "As expected, the magnitude at which sleep and weight status was affected depended on the EECD in question, however, the TV, computer and cell phone were identified as common culprits"(Dube 13). With these links being so obvious, parental guardians must get educated, then soon educate their children on the negative effects screen time has on their future.
Transitioning back to why it is necessary for a long term fix, food consumption choices will be affected due to social media. Social media gives many children an unhealthy relationship with food, which is extremely damaging to their heath. Parents should not allow false information to affect their child's diet. "The gathered data were processed using a profit model to identify the variables that may affect consumer attitudes and choices in relation to the information gathered through social" (Simeone 3). Unfortunately social media is highly influential and harmful teachings should be monitored. Children have a false sense of reality due to the fakeness presented on social media, it is crucial that children do not shy away from the realities of life.
Harmful side effects such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, are all developing in children from increasing screen time on technological devices and social media outlets. The age involvement in technology is rapidly dropping, giving media access to extremely young children. While children are in a crucial developmental stage in their lives, it is ultimately being stunted by technology. The history of this problem dates back to the start of Generation Z. This generation is finally enduring the negative side effects given to them from constant use of technological devices. This generation has woken and gone to bed with a screen in their face virtually their entire life. This has immediately affected many children's mental and physical well being all over the world. Oftentimes children will spend extreme amounts of time in front of a screen, losing a sense of reality and will ignore their responsibilities. Children are also lied to on social networks, creating false outlooks on life. The immediate repercussions are menatlly draining for kids. Children are being forced to endure mental health crises that they would not have to experience if it wasn't for unrestricted media use. In order to save children from effects such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression, parents must be compliant to other beneficial methods. Parents must consider limiting screen time to benefit their child's quality of life. It is crucial parents educate their children on influential devices with unfortunate consequences. Although this will seem as culture shock to many children, their well being must be put first. All parents have to take this issue seriously and work harder to keep their children safe from any threats such as technological devices.