What do online social networks do to the brain? Is it safe for kids to be “connected” for hours on end? Here’s what parents need to know about the subject.
Spending a lot of time on social networks like Facebook has been linked to mental health problems in children and teenagers according to a report submitted to the Commons Health Select Committee by Public Health England. Using surveys, the organization found that 1/3 of teenagers feel “low, sad or down” at least once a week, 1/5 have a poor sense of well-
There are reports of children who have actually committed suicide as a result of a social network addiction. One was a bright, 15-
Every child is unique but all of us share some things in common. We all need social interaction. It is a basic human need. The new “virtual” society cannot replace real life contact and communication. An adult’s mental health could not remain intact for long in isolation. A child’s mental health is even more delicate than an adult’s. The teenager who committed suicide likely felt that her world had been destroyed when her online avatar was deleted. She had said that the only people who really cared about her were her “online fans”. In other cases, the cause of the poor sense of well-
Other risks include sexual exploitation and exposure to pedophiles. Any of those things can damage a child’s self-
A mountain of research has shown that children thrive best when they have regular schedules and routines. As parents, we are responsible for creating the schedule and making sure our kids stick to the routine. As they get older, the “enforced” routine will have become a habit, a healthy habit. Most of us parents are accustomed to limiting the amount of time our kids spend watching TV or playing video games. Now, we just have to add social networks to the list of limited activities. Public Health England reports that the risks to mental health increase with every hour spent on social networks.
The greatest damage to mental health is seen when more than 4 hours a day are spent online, but some harm may occur at very low levels. So, maybe you could say, “No more than 30 minutes on Facebook.” That should be plenty of time to make their daily posts.
Social Media and Mental Health
What do online social networks do to the brain? Is it safe for kids and teens to be “connected” for hours on end? Here’s what parents need to know about the subject.
ARTICLES | BY K.K.BROWN
JANUARY 8, 2017
SURFING THE NET WITH KIDS
Social Media Changing Your Brain
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