Kids can get attached and addicted to social media platforms, so maybe it’s a good idea to avoid social media. Some parents don’t even let their kids use social media platforms. But is that OK?
Nowadays, almost every kid uses social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. The problem is that there are many dangers kids can encounter on these platforms.
These dangers are the main reason why kids might avoid social media and other online interactions. In this article, we’ll discuss this matter and find out whether it is bad or good for kids to avoid social media.
The Benefits of Kids Avoiding Social Media
Kids can experience many benefits when avoiding social media. We’ll discuss these benefits in the following paragraphs.
· Improved Mental Health and Well-Being
When kids constantly use social media, they’ll encounter many online dangers that harm their mental health.
Did you know that 46% of kids have experienced a form of online bullying? That’s an alarming percentage! Also, social media platforms are places where many online predators find their victims- vulnerable kids.
So, when kids avoid social media, they avoid many online dangers that may traumatize them. On the other hand, many fake and filtered personalities online promote unreal mindsets and lifestyles.
These so-called influencers are bad role models for kids. But kids still compare themselves with them.
Social comparison can cause mental health issues in kids, including lowered self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression.
· Enhanced Focus on Real-Life Relationships
When kids spend their entire day scrolling through endless posts, they forget real-life interaction. But when kids avoid social media, they’ll find time to communicate and rebuild relationships with family and friends.
We all know that digital skills are essential in this modern era, but face-to-face communication is still a thing. Kids must know how to communicate with others in real life without a screen bordering them.
Also, the best memories are made with friends and family, in the park, on the beach, in the playground, and definitely not on Twitter.
So, kids and parents, turn off the phones and enjoy some good old family time. Family game night is a perfect idea!
Go out with your friends, play some sports, or play an instrument instead of stalking filtered influencers and celebrities.
The Drawbacks of Kids Avoiding Social Media
Sometimes social media can be good for our kids. It can teach them real-life and digital skills they can use daily.
Also, social media is a perfect ground for staying up-to-date and learning new things. So, let’s talk about the drawbacks of avoiding social media.
· Limited Access to Information and Resources
Social media platforms contain as much educational content as they contain silly and low-effort posts. So, when children avoid social media, they avoid the chance to grasp new knowledge and information.
Social media platforms also offer children to see how others think from their perspective. With all these factors combined, children can easily create their own opinions with the help of social media platforms.
For example, Twitter is a social media app notorious for its option to let users express their thoughts at any time.
Although children can stumble upon nonsense, many Twitter users put in the time to directly present their perspective regarding a situation.
Later on, your children can develop their own perspectives and discuss them with you at home. Debating with kids is always fun!
· Social Exclusion and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Most kids start using social media because their friends also have an account on these platforms.
So, when kids avoid social media, it’s like they’re avoiding social interaction, and they develop a fear of missing out (FOMO).
Kids share all their experiences on social media, so that’s why your kids might feel like they’re missing out when avoiding these platforms.
Kids will also miss out on the newest events, parties, and activities and feel disconnected from their peers.
Also, peers might ridicule and bully your kids for not having a social media account. Social exclusion caused by avoiding social media is bad for kids’ mental development and growth.
Balancing Offline and Online Interactions
Even if you let your kids use social media, you must balance it with other offline activities and interactions.
· Encouraging Responsible Social Media Use
Kids must develop and upgrade their digital literacy, ultimately becoming better digital citizens. But being digitally literate doesn’t only mean having the digital skills needed for operating a tech device.
Being digitally literate means having a set of proper values that go along with your digital skills. Your kids must know how to communicate with others online and create a positive atmosphere.
Skills like critical thinking, analyzing, and independence are essential for having a good online experience.
Lastly, kids must know when it’s enough social media for the day. It sounds impossible, but it’s something they must achieve.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that kids should avoid using tech for more than 2 hours daily.
And parents can see whether their kids follow these recommendations by monitoring them with parental control apps.
· Fostering Offline Hobbies and Activities
Physical activities are essential for kids’ health. So, engage your kids in tech-free activities. These include sports, arts, crafts, music, and any other offline hobbies that encourage creativity.
Moreover, show your kids the value of playing outdoor games with friends, relatives, and neighbors.
The classic hide and seek, jump rope, and other nostalgic games are sure to remain in your kids’ memory if they play them with friends.
Kids must experience life outdoors, breathe some fresh air, move their feet, and feel true happiness. Studies even show that sunlight makes you turn your frown upside down and prepares you for the day.
So, take your kids to the playground, play ball in the park, or take a walk in nature. It’s a perfect family activity!
Can kids completely avoid social media in today’s connected world?
No, it’s almost impossible to avoid social media in today’s digital era. We depend on tech for every aspect of our lives, including communication.
How can kids stay connected with peers without social media?
Kids can communicate with their peers through the chat option on every social media platform.
What can parents do to support their children’s decision to avoid social media?
Parents can engage in offline activities with their children and make their day fun even without social media.
What are the signs that a child may be negatively affected by social media avoidance?
Your children might isolate themselves. That can lead to social anxiety, depression, and sadness, which are all signs you can spot in your children.
ALSO READ: Reasons Parents Shouldn’t Limit Screen Time