Recently, I had a father ask me, “How do I stop my child from being glued to social media every free second of the day?” It seems that Tik Tok and Instagram are taking over our kids’ lives. It’s hard enough for adults to resist, so imagine how difficult it is for children to pry themselves away from their screens.
Girls love dancing and recording on TikTok. Kids love checking how many followers they’ve got. Some would say it’s harmless; however, researchers are reporting that being on social media can cause quite a lot of changes to the personality and a child’s brain. Additionally, kids may not realize the long-term consequences of what they choose to put online.
Social media can either boost your child’s self-esteem or completely crush it. And just as good social media can activate a child’s brain’s reward center, bad aspects can easily crush it. Also, the blue light that radiates from either a phone or a computer screen can interfere with sleep.
Have you ever heard these words come from your mouth when speaking with your child: “Don’t be a copycat. You should be yourself. Use your imagination.” However, I’m guilty of not being creative too at times. What adult hasn’t been impressed with something another adult has posted online and wanted to emulate it?
Nevertheless, an adult’s brain is fully developed, but for the child, social media “activates herd mentality” which means a child can lose the ability to think on their own and are more likely to go along with what’s popular, which sometimes can lead to risky behavior.
Unfortunately, whether your child has a device or not, their friends probably do. Social media is not going anywhere; however, that means, we parents must be vigilant. It’s OK to set limits, and it’s important to talk to your kids about the risks involved with being online. That’s part of the job description of being a parent.