What Impact is Social Media having on today’s Children?

Should social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter carry health warnings?

Parents have so much more to contend with nowadays when it comes to raising children. I wonder what impact this has on both parents and their offspring.

When I was growing up and of primary school age, I’d spend most of my time in the garden. In fact, as soon as I got home from school and had my dinner, I’d be in the garden until bedtime.

My teenage years were much the same except I’d usually be in the local park with my friends. We’d find a park bench and spend the next few hours chatting about school, friends, boys etc before heading home. If I wasn’t in the park, I was usually at one of my friends’ houses or vice versa. What we did in their house was much the same of what we did at the park. Talk, sing songs using hair brushes as a microphone, and now again, on the very rare occasion that we could go on the computer, we’d sign into MSN messenger (using my friends account as I didn’t have one) and chat to our friends.

I was around 11 years old when my parents bought me my first mobile phone. I can’t remember at what age I started asking for a mobile phone, but I imagine it may have been somewhere around the age of nine or ten. I’m sad to say that at just seven years old one of our daughters has already asked for a mobile phone numerous times. Is this a sign of the times?

Technology when I was growing up was nowhere near what it is today. My mobile phone had a pixelated black and grey screen. My PC at home was connected to the internet using dial up and the only game my sister and I played on it was Rollercoaster Tycoon from a floppy disk.

I don’t recall using the internet for anything. In fact, I rarely went online as there wasn’t much to do on it.

In fact, I don’t really remember much in the way of social media until I was in college. Back then it was all about My Space and to be honest with you aside from searching for my favourite bands, I don’t really remember using My Space a great deal.

I was 17 years old when Facebook launched and 19 when Twitter launched, but I don’t remember it being a big deal back then.

I’m not even sure when I decided to sign up to these platforms, but at some point, I did and ever since then my use of social media has grown.

I openly admit that I went through a phase – a rather long one at that – of being addicted to social media. I’d spend way too much time glued to my phone when I should have been doing other things such as playing with children.

I’m pleased to say though that I now spend a lot less time on social media. When my children are around I put my phone away so that I don’t get distracted by it as I’d much rather spend time with my children than staring at the screen of my phone. I think this says a lot about the way in which we raise our children.

There’s that well known saying; Money see, Monkey do.

I truly believe that children’s habits when it comes to social media and pretty much everything else follows in the footsteps of their parents.

If a child sees their mum or dad always on their phone this leads children to think that this is normal behaviour and it really isn’t. In fact, the impact of this is so detrimental to children and I think it’s very sad that parents don’t see this.

A lot of parents simply don’t know how to play with their children, how to spend time with them and how to talk to them because they spend they’re too busy staring at a screen instead.

We’re losing vital skills and more importantly children aren’t even learning skills such as how to hold a conversation or how to socialise or play because they’re copying their parents and staring at a screen.

The world is such a fascinating place and I really think we need to show our children this. Take them outdoors to explore, let them play and get muddy. It’s so much more beneficial for children to be outdoors than inside.

Lead by example. Ditch your phone and go for a walk, explore some woodland, go swimming in the wild or camping in a field. Your children will have amazing memories!

Think about it!

When your children are grown up would you rather they have memories of you always being on your phone, never playing with them, or would you rather they remember all of the fun things you did together?

I know which one I’d prefer.

6 thoughts on “What Impact is Social Media having on today’s Children?

  1. This is an awesome post! I was the same when I was little. I partly wish it was still like that now. Many kids I nanny for would much rather jump on the Ipad the man jump outside. Madness! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Nanny M x

  2. So true. We’re starting a little thing from the Wildlife Trust called 30 Days Wild tomorrow. Each day, we will be doing a small wild activity. They suggest things such as hugging a tree, making bird feeders, spotting bugs etc. A great way to ditch the tech and make some muddy memories! #ThatFridayLinky

  3. Our kids only use iPads in school and very occasionally for a movie at home. The rest of the time they play outside or with toys which is how it should be. Their behaviour is always atrocious after time with the tablet.

    I do wonder though if I’m holding them back in this digital age!

  4. I think it is a balance which can be hard at times. I also think it is important to teach children to be independent X #thatfridaylinky

  5. I think we are all guilty sometimes of paying more attention to our phones that what is going on around us, but what I’ve noticed is that the younger kids, the ones that have spent their entire life is this new age, seem to be able to find a better balance. I think that maybe its us old timers that have a harder time unplugging sometimes #thatfridaylinky

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