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Impacts of Social Media on Kids

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Impacts of Social Media on Kids

Over the last 20 years, social media use has dramatically changed. The first “smartphone” came out in the early 2000’s. With the invention of the “smartphone” came the idea of “apps” or applications. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the evolution of the cell phone continued. Children as young as 5 and 6 years old may own a cell phone, and toddlers can be found watching their parents' cell phones.

Smartphones are minicomputers, allowing access to virtually anything at any time. On average, children and teenagers have 6-8 social media apps they use each day. Common Sense Media suggests that on average, a child 8-12 years old is exposed to six hours of entertainment per day, and teenagers about nine hours a day.

Knowing that 80% of communication between humans is non-verbal, it’s very alarming to think that over half the time our teenagers are awake during the daytime is spent on social media or electronics instead of interacting with each other. As screen time increases, we also see an increase in mental health issues, things like depression, anxiety, poor body image, low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness.

Ways as a Parent you can Help

Monitor - Make sure as a parent you know what accounts and apps your child is on. There are dangerous apps for children and teenagers to be on. Please check out – A Complete Guide to potentially dangerous apps:

Discuss – Open up a discussion with your child about their social media use. Listen to them, and ask questions about why it’s important to them. Have conversations about potential dangers like negative feedback and bullying.

Set Rules – Make it clear to your child or teenager what the rules are for your house, including specific apps that are or are not allowed, time limits, and rules for outside your home. When everyone understands what the rules are, it makes it easier for kids to say, “no” or “I can’t” to friends. Lastly, set a rule that all phones are turned off or into you (the parent) each night. Sleep is a very important part to a child’s mental health and physical development. Teenagers can lack the impulse control needed to turn their phones off or not respond to a text. Studies have stated that at least 1-2 hours before bed, we should be turning our phones off to promote good sleep.

Downtime – Set a time in the house when everyone puts down their phones. Use this time as a way to get outside, read a book, or cook together. Disconnecting from our phones (even as parents) can help model good mental health self-care.

Reach out to Kid Clinic or CCH Pediatrics for more information regarding healthy habits for your child when it comes to social media.

Kid Clinic: 307.688.8700

CCH Pediatrics: 307.688.3636

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Family Medicine, Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic, Campbell County Medical Group Pediatrics, Campbell County Memorial Hospital, Patient Care