Vague title, huh?
I know we are in a technologically infused world. But why are we rushing to give our young children cell phones? I understand giving them the phone that can call Mom, Dad, or 911. Do they really need social media? Internet? Texting? I promise, I have tried to understand, keep an open mind, and fully grasp it, but I cannot.
Do parents feel proud when they see their young daughter in a crop top, on Tik Tok, dancing semi-sexually and making kissy faces? Or are they even aware? Do parents feel proud to see their young son, holding up the middle finger, on Snap Chat, cursing and or making fun of others? Most moms and dads I have spoken to have stated that they “monitor” their child’s social media. That is even more concerning. You are monitoring and still allowing this. I am trying very very very hard not to judge – but this one, I stand firm on. We need to let our kids be kids. What happened to playing outside, setting up playdates, and hanging out with the family?
There is a website called www.waituntil8th.org. If you are not one to peruse the internet, I will summarize it for you. This website has significantly helped me realize how important it is for me to allow my child to be a child.
- Smartphones are addictive.
- Smartphones are an academic distraction.
- Excessive smartphone use is altering children’s brains.
- Smartphones impair sleep.
- Screen time impacts behavior.
- Smartphones interfere with relationships.
- Smartphones increase the risk for anxiety and depression.
- Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber bullying.
- Smartphones expose children to sexual content.
- Technology executives ban smartphones for their children.
While all of these are SUPER important points, I want this story to focus on numbers 7 and 8.
Smartphones increase the risk for anxiety and depression.
Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber bullying.
I do not feel that most adults are old enough or emotionally equipped enough to handle social media, let alone young children. Growing up is hard enough. Think back to your elementary and high school days. Remember being made fun of, remember not making friends easily, remember feeling left out, remember being the one making fun of someone? Now imagine that happening not just at school but on a screen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I hate to put it this way, but we are just giving other children more ammunition to hurt our children. For young children to see their peers “living a better life” may cause them to feel jealousy, missing out, or not being confident in themselves. Research has proven that children who receive smartphones in elementary or junior high school are more likely to be involved in cyberbullying than those who do not receive one until high school. The increase in cyberbullying can cause increases in anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
Before anyone comes for me, I know there are so many different scenarios, I should not judge or pretend to know what I would do without walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. I can tell you though, right now, in my life, in my current family status, and seeing what these tiny little electronics do to our children, I am opting out. If I was able to have a wish, my wish is for social media to go back to the day where you had to have a college email to get access to social sites. Hint, Hint!