Social Media: It’s Personal
Pros and Cons Specific Apps and Platforms at the Bottom
Whether you are an adult or a teen, social media is now and forever haunting your existence! Used for both good and evil, it can propel our education, our international and nationwide communication, advances in physical health and even in emotional health…. with a twist! The “evils” of social media for some people and in some cases have outweighed the good. I’m not sure how many years it will take to know or acknowledge this. Many different kinds of technology are useful but, some are a pure detriment to society.
Just some of the issues that come out of this addictive behavior related to social media are listed below.
•Time Consuming Misunderstandings
• Spending time to fit In
•Loss of concentration
•Addiction to games, chat rooms, online attention
If you or your child struggle with this ASK for more info & assistance!
Protecting your Pre/Teen from The Internet (It is Never Too Late)
My list includes:
- Yik Yak
- Tik Tok
These are the top websites to Block your Child/Teen from in 2023 (Most of I these I could have told you years ago!) and My Quick Take Plus More Info According to 10 Inappropriate Websites to Block for Kids 2023 (cisdem.com)
My Quick Take: Snapchat (bullying with pictures, video and comments) and Discord (more for getting information stolen and bots and privacy issues than humans getting access to your info) to the list.
My QuickTake: My kids don’t want it! It hasn’t fallen at the top of the list for me. Twitter is a social media popular among all over the world. In 2022, Twitter’s audience counted approximately 329 million monthly active users worldwide. In this site, users can see news and events from various countries. Also, they can speak freely in this platform. Although Twitter gives warning about some inappropriate content, the effect is not obvious. Twitter has more adult, violent and other harmful content than other social media sites. Twitter prohibits users under 13, but in fact, kids can create the Twitter account by entering a fake date of birth or sign in parents’ account. It’s better to block this site for kids directly.
Yik Yak The App Taken Down After 911 calls and it’s back!
My Quick Take: Yik Yak was created by two guys in college, and it became so detrimental to mental health in our society due to bullying leading to 911 calls, that it was shut down in 2017. The anonymous platform made its way back in 2021. Check your kids’ phones for this one! Yik Yak is an anonymous (these are the absolute worst) and started years ago) social media platform popular among young teenagers. Users can make anonymous post within 200 words in chat room and view anonymous post published within 2.5 kilometers. Without registration and real name required, everyone can share everything freely. However, some people will maliciously post some negative content in this platform. It also caused a large number of cyber bully incidents. In fact, this platform is not suitable for children.
My Quick Take: Reddit & Whisper...give kids the same thrill and depression, if you are not happy with this type of possible bullying.
And Another One …. Kik
My Quick Take: Kik Messenger is another app that leads to bullying and allows kids to behave in a way they wouldn’t do if their name was associated with their comments. It is one of the most popular instant messenger apps in North America with over 300 million users. The reason why I think it is one of the websites to block for kids is its anonymous. Users can send messengers to strangers anonymously and share photos, videos and games on this platform. It brings much security risk to young children and teenagers. Another huge issue for parents is that some use this platform to commit crimes against juveniles. Due to the anonymous nature of Kik, it is difficult for legal personnel to investigate.
My Quick Take: Omegle is another way to get vulnerable kids involved in situations that are dangerous and exploit them for information. Omegle an anonymous and random chatting platform. The difference of this video and text chat website is that it randomly pushes a stranger to communicate. Is this sounding even more scarier? It builds a two-person chat room for you. HUH? This site lacks the monitoring mechanism. (I must have missed that on the other anonymous ones) Some chats in this platform involve adult content. If teens or young children engage in such chats, they can be severely affected. Thieves, hackers, and scammers will also lure kids to giving them credit card codes, address, or other private information. This is unsafe for the teen and family members.
My Quick Take: The name bothers me; it just really does. A video chat website below I see violence and sex and connections! Similar to Omegle, Chatroulette is also a widespread video chat website. It randomly pairs users and generates a pair of video connections. Users can also choose to add strangers as friends. I am not highlighting the rest! Once becoming friends in this platform, they can chat, share photos, and play games together. But the site often featured sexual content, nudity, and vulgar humor etc. Children may receive sex photos, violent videos or harmful links provided by strangers. Are our kids this bored?
My Quick Take: We have all heard about this website since the horrific buffalo Tops shooting. It apparently held many answers for investigators and was shown to not only have captured the live shooting but, a widely known hate filled terrorist website. 4Chan is a completely anonymous real-time messaging forum. As it is spoken about in the article as one of the most creative sites on the internet (it is clearly not only used for that purpose. 4chan was originally a forum for discussing anime. Since it is anonymous, there is a lot of harmful content on this site.
My Quick Take: Ask.fm was something to stay away from years ago. Apparently, it is still a hot. It is aquestion-and-answer platform popular among young teenagers. Their mainstream users are between the ages of 13 and 25, and 50% of their registered users are under 18. Now Ask.fm has grown into a freewheeling platform where teens are free from parental constraints. Anyone can view, ask and answer questions anonymously. It’s full of porn content, cyber bullying and violence in this site. And even a lot of teen suicides are related to this platform. YIKES!
My Quick Take: our kids are around people all of the time… sharing their geographic location online is unnecessary (as is meeting someone 5 states away or a TOWN away)! Tinder is a dating site. It recommends users to meet new people within a certain distance based on the user’s geographic location. If the person you are interest to happens to like you, you can message each other, follow each other on Facebook, and go on a date. It is very dangerous for kids to have a date with strangers alone. We have definitely heard enough about this.
My Quick Take: as the worst parent in the world (my kids have never and will never have Tik Tok). TikTok, a video-sharing platform popular among all aged users, offers us types of interesting, creative and exciting short videos every day. It’s especially loved by young teens. Is TikTok safe for kids? It depends. There are kinds of subjects in this platform: dance, art, fashion, pranks etc. If your child often imitates the bad behavior in videos, or addicted to it, this is an inappropriate site for him.
My Quick Take: I didn’t care for it and didn’t even know about the other “inappropriate games out there”. Roblox is an online game platform, which has over 54 million daily active users worldwide. This is a game compatible with virtual world, casual games and self-built content. It is especially loved by early-teens. However, there are some risks. Users themselves in Roblox are allowed to build games. This means children may see countless inappropriate games related to adult content, violence etc. Roblox is the ultimate virtual universe where players are free to create any anything or be anything. If you found you kid immersed in the virtual world of Roblox, you must limit him.
Did I find not having these media platforms impacted my children? YES. They were not in trouble or crying or bullied. However, at 12, they felt it hurt their social life MORE than as they were older. As they became older, they cared less.
That should tell you the age, and maturity level of the kids getting sucked in by these platforms. It is very dangerous. If you want to know just how much read about the Blue Whale Challenge. It was not an urban legend. The creator went to prison in 2017. These apps, challenges, and ideas they put in the heads of our kids are dangerous and at times stronger than we think.
Social Media Resource
Disclaimer *Marcy Abramsky does not endorse the legal service provided but shares the valuable media information and options you have.
While studies have shown that social media use can boost connection, communication and self-esteem, experts say too much social media use may lead to worsening mental health. If you find yourself dependent on social media, it can have negative effects on self-esteem, body image and mood.
Some signs that you may need to examine how you use social media include:
- Lack of time for self-care.
- Spending more time on social media than with friends and family.
- A spike in feelings of anxiety or depression.
- Often comparing yourself to others based on what they post.
- Being distracted from work or school.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Feeling the need to check social media every few hours.
Social media harm is a complex issue. Some studies have made a general correlation between social media and mental health issues like depression. A 2022 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that suicidal thoughts and attempts were linked to young adolescents and cyberbullying.
One meta-analysis showed a moderate correlation between problematic social media use and depression. Research has suggested that social comparisons may be a link between those with problematic social media use and depression and anxiety. Researchers now suggest that aspects of social media that promote “well-being” are not simply the opposite side of the coin from “ill-being” and should be studied separately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts, adolescent mental health is worsening. More than 4 in 10 adolescents report feelings of sadness or hopelessness. These feelings are more common in females and racialized groups, as well as those in the LGBTQ+ community. Other warning signs of mental health distress include low energy, distancing oneself, having difficulty concentrating or having inexplicable aches and pains. Adolescents with mental health conditions are more vulnerable to risk-taking behaviors, self-harm, suicide and behavioral and eating disorders.
Has your child suffered a serious injury after using social media daily or weekly?
Tips To Balance Social Media and Mental Health
Though more studies are required, research acknowledges the integral role of social media in the lives of youth. It provides opportunities for personal expression and social support, which contribute to positive mental health factors such as connection, self-concept, happiness, coping and personal growth.
Adults and teens alike can find it challenging to balance social media use and their mental health. How you use it is the determining factor; it is possible to make social media experiences more beneficial than harmful. Here are some tips:
- Use social media to make or maintain connections with friends you will meet in real life or find clubs and activities to join that support a healthy lifestyle.
- Follow positive influencers and unfollow accounts whose messaging is negative or judgmental.
- Connect with friends and family who enhance your life.
- Use social media to identify online resources for mental health support, such as online therapy, support groups or informational websites.
- Use social media to find your voice, show empathy and kindness or offer support and motivation to others. Avoid user-driven chat rooms such as Discord that have the potential for toxicity.
When it comes to supporting a healthy self-image, one study showed that viewing body-positive social media, especially with captions that reinforce body positivity, can be beneficial. This activity can increase body satisfaction regardless of someone’s preexisting ideas about beauty. However, this research studied young, cis-gender women, so further research is needed for the impacts on differing age groups and backgrounds.
What to Do If Social Media Negatively Impacts You
If you feel like social media might be impacting you negatively or that your use has become excessive, you are not alone. Social media abuse statistics show that 5% to 10% of Americans are addicted to social media.
Many people are concerned with the potential harm of social media use. Several social media lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. alleging that online platforms caused worsening mental health.
Even if other factors have impacted your mental health, consider speaking with a mental health professional. Your doctor can write a referral to a therapist or you can seek help via a counseling center, support group or online. Many resources are available; take time to identify the therapist that is right for you.