Does plugging into social media, unplug kids from the world?

Social media usage in current times has become equivalent to the air that we breathe in, it’s existence can neither be denied nor overlooked. For today’s Generation Z (10 to 18 years old) social media consumption has nothing but become a day-to-day habit, if not a requirement. It would not be wrong to say that every single morning we open our eyes to social media updates from our friends and family or even those whom we otherwise might not know.

Youngsters and adolescents have a tendency of spending a noteworthy amount of our time using one or the other form of media, whatever may be the purpose. What we search on the online medium has a high positive and negative influence on the emotional quotient of the child, it greatly tends to impact the kind of person we become. Our social media usage mostly tends to be prejudiced by our peers, celebrities or viral trends.

The positive impact of social media on the child’s emotional intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence is the aptitude to identify and accomplish the emotions of self and others. One positive aspect of the social media influence on kids is that it lends them an enhanced chance to present themselves and to comprehend others. Social networking is the best medium of their time, that will aid their level of emotional intelligence to be built from that. The impact of virtual media usage has presently played a significant role in not only enhancing the child’s emotional quotient but has also helped in creating a great amount of interpersonal mindfulness.

Along with these positive sides, responsible parents and guardians cannot afford to miss out on the effects of over-dependence on technology and how it has an ability to reduce a kid’s emotional intelligence. Along with being an informative medium, technology is also an external mechanism that disturbs and majorly upsets your kid’s capability to comprehend with his or her thoughts and feelings and be attuned to others. This can encompass any device that draws your child’s attention away from the moment—such as smartphones, earbuds, desktops, laptops—and gradually lessens his or her senses to the world and the people in it. The youths screen time can generate an absence of basic human interaction like thoughtfulness, compassion, and sympathy.

Plugging into social media can help the child to distance himself from an anxious and stressful situation. For instance, listening to soft music online can majorly help release strain like examination pressure by letting the child take a break and escape a challenging moment. Some online applications are also designed to lift up mindfulness and condense nervousness through guided meditations or relaxation exercises. The real trouble starts the moment when networking with technology starts to take precedence over engaging in expressive communication. As tech dependency and addiction surges, kids tend to move through the world in a self-absorbed and egoistic bubble, separated from their own opinions and feelings, and the thoughts and emotional state of others. As communication skills and optimistic connections crumble, technology even starts to distort the kid’s sense of humanity; they slowly start to become less sympathetic and sensitive to others.

The growth of social media skills and the fall of emotional intelligence in children:

Let us have a look at how tech dependence destructively impacts the child’s fundamentals of emotional intelligence:

Weakens self-awareness

More time spent on technology implies less time with your own views and approaches. The moment the child starts to prioritize screen time over other activities, they start to live in a state of self-alienation, separated from their emotive selves, incapacitating self-awareness and self-reflection. Instead of considerate choices, they tend to grow more reactive ones and less thoughtful.

Undermines self-regulation

Tech addiction upsurges impulsivity and drops down frustration tolerance majorly. Without emerging the capability to self-regulate, kids remain expressively immature and delayed in early childhood behaviours such as bullying, temper tantrums and angry outbursts.

Reduces socializing skills

Even when kids play games virtually with others, it rarely leads to true bonds and companionship. In this way, tech addiction is likely to breed remoteness, loneliness and reclusiveness. The more tech rules, the less socializing develops. This leaves kids with poor coping skills and inadequate tools for navigating relationships.

Undermines understanding

The moment the family time is replaced by screen time, kids move through the world in trance-like states, self-centered and disconnected from others. Being uncaring and unsympathetic, they lack the technique of developing a rapport with others. The basic building blocks of strong compassion tend to immature.

Stunts motivation

Inspiration and drive towards accomplishing personal goals in life, which needs drive, constant attention and high levels of frustration tolerance, falls steadily. Like any aficionado, as kids become more reliant on the internet, they start neglecting themselves and their future. As a result, when met with challenging life choices, tech-dependent kids are likely to suffer signs of worry or unhappiness.

Guidelines for parents and guardians

Everyone suffers when tech want and dependency goes unaddressed. It is advisable for parents to create strict family guidelines and stringent limitations for technology in their homes to limit time spent off-screen. After all, technology should boost a kid’s life, instead of controlling and managing it. Remember, technology should be an effective tool that will enhance the kid’s development and not the way of life.

Authored by Dr. Atish Laddad, Founder & Director at Docterz

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