We’ve covered a lot of ground with how social media impacts your kid. We’ve even talked about some of the positive points as most people (us included) can easily spot some of the downsides. The obvious ones are things like dangerous apps and the potential for cyberbullying and predators.
But what about the lesser-known negatives that many parents might not think about right off the bat when teaching their kids about smart social media usage? Here are some of them.
1It sets the stage for addiction. It’s hard to put your screen down sometimes when you get sucked into some cool videos on your newsfeed. It’s even harder for your kids though, and if likes and shares are involved with the things they post, it can become even more addictive for them. Their brains are still wired for reward-centric behavior. They feed off the attention and it keeps them glued to the screen, which means they’re spending less time on the things they should.
2It delays social and emotional development. In studies, children that spent more than 3 hours per day using social media were more likely to have mental health issues. The reason? When we become too immersed in the virtual world, we forget how to act in the real world. This is very difficult for kids because it’s a time they should be learning to interact with other people face-to-face in real relationships, something that will make their days as adults harder in the work world.
3It makes them green with envy. And it happens to you too. You probably scroll through your own newsfeed and glare at that one friend who has the happy too-good-to-be-true marriage, the kids that are always dressed perfectly, and takes amazing vacations every month. Well guess what? Your kids see that from the kids they’re friends with too as well as the influencers they follow that make them covet pricey brands they don’t need. Ultimately, this makes us all unhappy.
4They don’t learn how to read body language. When we were kids, we called our friends on the phone or rode our bicycles to their homes. Our kids don’t have this kind of life. While they can use the phone to make phone calls, few of them do. Instead, they text and chat on instant messenger. Without spending physical time with friends, they don’t learn those subtle cues of body language and facial gestures, something that will hinder them as adults.
5 They focus too much on creating picture-perfect moments. And finally, one of the things we’re guilty of too when the food comes out to our table at our favorite restaurant is to take photos of those special moments, trying to get them just perfect when we really should just be enjoying and living in the moment. Our kids are too busy perfecting those photo ops, taking endless selfies to get the perfect one and over-photographing every little detail to show off how awesome their lives are. While taking a few quick photos here and there is no cause for concern, overdoing it causes them to miss out on the connections they should be making with their friends and family in the moment.
When we put social media first to impress the world, we’re forgetting to impress ourselves. If you’re guilty of these habits too, you can break them with your child together.