Why are kids always online?

My daughter gives me tough time nowadays. She is not heedful to my warnings when it comes to her playing with my phone. She texts to her friends obsessively, and sends voice files and upload videos. She dresses up, and strike poses with awkward pouts while camera running.

Not my daughter alone, nearly all parents are in anxiety over how gadgets would affect children’s mental and emotional growth.  The ungainly side is children upload only ‘beautified’ photos and videos, which shows the influence of celebrity culture. I have now ‘concocted’ a secret password that has helped me a lot. Of course, most teens have Facebook and social media accounts.  Kids as young as 11-12 feverishly upload their photos and videos. They use editing and beautifying apps on their parents’ smartphones. 

I recently came across family portraits of a friend online. All in striking hues of violet. Things were not as smooth as shown in the picture, later I learnt.

Kids spend hours on phones sharing, texting, scrolling and trolling, skipping home works. You can see them busy glued to phones at malls, and homes.

It might appear aimless hanging out, but they are busy. Sadly, they are missing out on real-time face-to-face interactions with their families and friends. I wonder why it is so important to show off personal life or “fabulous life’ online. 

Social media is very popular across the world. Some of them include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, You Tube and Snapchat. Each has its own features to enhance the communication among users. Users of social media upload online the happenings about them. This has given people a feeling of being close. 

To a lot of people social media help express their creativity. They use it for fun, maintain friendship, share interests and explore identities. It’s a natural extension of their real-life interactions. As a result, parents worry about the negative aspect of children’s social media exposure. 

They are anxious whether it will promote anxiety and lower the self-esteem. First off, children pick up social and cognitive skills quickly.

That is what growing up means.  This period should not be spent glued to the smartphone, iPad, play stations, tablets or laptops. They have to develop real-life interactions.

There are positive sides to social media. Your child can explore and experiment on social media. It could help build the knowledge and skills needed to enjoy online activities and avoid online risks. They can use social media to share educational content, either informally or in formal school settings. 

Social media help children express their creativity. Alongside, connecting with extended family and friends and taking part in local and global online communities can give your child a sense of belonging. It benefits mental health and wellbeing.

There are downsides as well. Children could be exposed to violent or sexual contents or images. There is also a risk of them sharing with strangers personal information like phone numbers, date of birth or location. Above all, there is a constant pressure to post and update online, and to look beautiful. It is time parents talked to their children about these perils. Convince them about both positive and negative sides of social media.

Sit with your child and explore the contents. Or you could ask him what services are popular and which ones he likes. Check whether your child’s social media choices are appropriate for his/her age. Thanks some social media services have age restrictions. Blocking their social media access will not work. Instead, teach your child how to navigate social media risks and behave respectfully on social media.