By Anonymous, 17 years old
Regardless of the common misconception that social media can help children to stay connected, in many ways it hinders a child’s development by disconnecting them from the reality that surrounds them. Some parents are now giving their children phones at ages as low as six or seven, which is causing numerous problems in how our society functions. Having phones at such a young age leads children to addiction; if you ever go out to eat I challenge you to look around and notice that almost every table has at least one family member on their phone — typically a child — using social media, watching videos to prevent boredom, or playing games. While this may provide a temporary solution to prevent a fit, it hinders a child’s ability to learn communication and social skills. Trust me, I am guilty as charged, but as I have matured, I’ve realized that the importance society places on social media and phone usage is inherently ruining our ability to learn basic cognitive skills.
To explain further, children are being exposed to more and more negativity on apps such as snapchat, instagram, or twitter. While the child my resent a parent’s resistance to them making a social media account, it does make a large difference in the long run. When kids start using their phones for things such as social media, they easily get addicted. Each time they get a snapchat or a like on instagram, their brains release dopamine, giving them the feeling that they constantly need to be using this apps to get a dopamine high. However, as they do this, they are surrounding themselves with negativity that will eventually start to make them a more negative person overall. To add on to the negativity thing, social media creates a false sense of reality that children perceive as the truth. Children will see fake pictures, fake news, and they see people who do not represent the average person. It starts to create confidence issues for children because they are constantly exposed to people who they think are prettier, have a better body, are nicer, etc. It has happened to me. Social media is one of the many reasons I have confidence issues at this point in time.
To any parent that is reading this right now, I challenge you to stop your child from using social media at such a young age. Yes, you may get a few “I hate you” comments when you initially refuse to let them get social media, but it will be worth it in the long run. They will know how to communicate and not resort to using their phones in uncomfortable situations (I am guilty of this), they will know how to be more positive instead of focusing on things that are going wrong in life (I am guilty of this), and they will have a lot more confidence which will prevent them from always talking themselves down (I am once again guilty of this). Not giving your child a phone at such a young age can have short term drawbacks, but numerous long term benefits. All parents want to set their child up for success, and preventing phone usage is a large way a child can achieve their full potential.