It Was Created To Be Addictive
Let’s be honest. Are you addicted to social media or being on your device A LOT? There are many folks out there that check their phones first thing in the morning and it is the last thing they do before they go to sleep. Why? Well, have you watched the “Social Dilemma” documentary? Social media apps were developed to be addictive. They are devised to give you those dopamine hits that ‘make you feel good’, at least for a few minutes.
I cannot tell you how many times I see people driving sixty to seventy miles an hour on the freeway with their heads down looking at their phones. Before they closed the restaurants down due to COVID I would witness couples or families sitting down at the same table I guess to enjoy a meal, all with their heads down completely engaged with their phone. I have seen people trip and fall because they are walking and texting.
It is reported that there are 1.6 million vehicle accidents per year due to driving and texting and thousands of deaths. When is enough going to be enough? And what about our children? These nine health hazards are attributed to children using digital devices:
- Poor posture, backaches, shoulder and neck aches.
- Wrist pain/carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Eye strain.
- Physical fatigue.
- Poor sleep.
- Compromised immune systems.
Dangers of Social Media to Children and Teens
- Sharing too much with people, especially those who they don’t know.
- Assuming that private means ‘safe’. If your kids don’t know the person that they are interacting with they shouldn’t do it.
- Connecting with a preditor. According to Lori Getz, a cyber education consultant, cyber-predators don’t just see a child online and then look for their address and go take them. Internet predators are predators that groom. They cultivate relationships with a child online and then have the child come to them, so they don’t have to take the risky approach of locating the child to abduct them.
- Allowing your child to get on social media too soon. Most experts agree that kids under 16 should not be interacting on social media.
- Online/cyberbullying. Research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting revealed the number of children admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts doubled between 2008 and 2015. Much of the rise is linked to an increase in cyberbullying.
- You should not assume that you are in the know if you are following your children on social media. Many kids will create fake accounts to keep their parents from knowing their real activities on social media.
- Not having clear-cut phone use rules. Drawn-out rules should be put in place from the get-go to avoid power struggles and arguments.
- False realities of social media marketing. You know the ones, flawless skin, teeth, perfect bodies, stunning vacations, wonderful romantic relationships.
What Are You Going To Do?
The question remains. What are you going to do? What commitment are you willing to make so that you can release yourself from device and social media prison? What conversations and ground rules are you going to implement in order to keep your children safe? We have a choice. The choice may not be easy. It might even feel downright miserable for awhile. The bigger question is “Is it worth it?” I think we can all agree that the right answer is YES!
Stay true and be you —