When kids ask their parents to buy them smartphones, mom and dad usually feel like they have no choice but to comply. After all, every kid in the classroom has one!
Now that the kids have the latest smartphone; it’s time for them to download Facebook, Instagram, and What’s app and enter the world of social media in all its glory and with all its pros and cons. But are smartphones good for kids? And what about them spending all day on social media?
It’s a well-known fact that the human brain is still forming during teenhood. For that matter, the information going in should be positive and create positive habits and not negative ones. It’s far better for teenagers to engage in sports or spend time in nature, and not to sit like zombies in their smartphones swapping pictures, watching YouTube and trolling. The midbrain of teenagers is just organizing itself in these formative years, and ten hours per day in front of the screen is not great for that. And that’s not to mention the numerous behavioral issues such actions encourage.
The primary purpose of social media is networking. However, for the most part, social media platforms are a form of entertainment and not much more than that. No teenager is going to further their education much by sitting on social media all day. For that matter, neither Facebook nor Instagram will help that teen to better themselves in any real or will it likely open up job opportunities for them. When it comes to entertainment, not many things come close to competitive sports, enjoying a movie with the family or going on a camping trip with friends.
For the most part, social media feeds teens a bunch of negative messages about life. In some social media sites, it’s all about posting pictures of your latest birthday present or capturing the best image of teens looking wealthy while away on vacation. Got 2,328 Facebook “friends?” how many of them are real friends, and how many of them have you ever met? Social media can stunt social growth and exploration for teenagers. Many teens who are really into social media seldom meet with friends face-to-face and simply spend all their time chatting online.
Few things in life are more habit-forming than smartphones and social media platforms. It’s a proven fact that even the red notification icon – “you’ve got mail” – causes dopamine and serotonin in the brain to be released. This leads to “feel-good sensations,” and that keeps teens checking their phones for messages, sometimes up to hundreds or even thousands of times a day. Another bad habit that faces teens is that of continually posting pictures, usually selfies. Some teens also develop a type of “OCD” for checking their phones, just in case they missed a selfie or the latest post from a friend.
Many teens who are seriously involved with social media often inhabit what can only be described as an “alternate reality.” While they should be concentrating on their studies during the day, they should also be hanging out with friends and doing all the usual things that teens do (or did before Smartphones were invented). Many teens only can function properly where their smartphones are concerned, while others have only online friends and no real ones. Teens need to inhabit reality in a healthy way and interact with life unplugged, lest they miss out on what life is really all about