Should we allow our children to use social media at a very younger age?

Children 25 Apr 2021 Sadaf Riaz
Opinion
social media
Photo : Pexels

Facebook Inc launched a new app Messenger kids specifically for children under the age of 13. This social media app enables children to chat with friends with greater parental control. This app was first launched in the United States. This new app with increased safety features and a locked network gives parents more control. Snapchat, the new messaging app is attracting the new generation before Facebook does.

Ironic situation

To the recent debate around face book’s move, there are three ironies. In June 2013, Snapchat launched SnapKidz- a locked-down child version that later on did not continue. Before the revolution of social platforms (Facebook launched in 2004) at that time the lawmakers were having no idea about the worst effects of social media on children.

Social media and psychological effects

Many of us question our self: should our children use social media at all? The users receive “dopamine hit” from comments, likes, and shares from social channels posts that influence the children to use social media even more. Those users, who are temporarily cut off from social media devices, felt the effects of anxiety. The effect of anxiety produced another term, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Several studies reveal that only the presence of smartphones reduces the cognitive capacity of a person.

Encountering strangers

Our children come across strangers on social media that is more dangerous than the effects of addiction. According to NSPCC some platforms of social media can be “dangerous place for children, inappropriate content, potentially exposing them to bullying”. Many children committed suicide due to social media relationships formed and broken.

Social media technology: Benefits and risks

The problem is not with technology but with the way people utilize them. For example:

I can use my car to drive and earn money, but I can also kill someone by driving dangerously. Fireworks are for excitement and fun but if we use them improperly they can harm human life. To drive you must have a license and your age must be above 17 years. In the UK only those who are over 18 years old are allowed to buy fireworks. Can you imagine a child playing with firework or driving a car without the supervision of parents?

In the above cases, under-aged children are not suitable to get engaged in such activities that are dangerous for them.

Minimum Age limit

The lawmakers need to set a minimum age for children using online social platforms rather than encouraging them to use safe forms of social media apps like Facebook messenger kids.

Most people allow their children to use social platforms and educate them to use it responsibly, but this is not the solution. The solution is to completely cut off your children from online social channels until they reach a specific age.

Some people restrict their children to the use of Facebook, Instagram while others allow their children to use them which is totally unsustainable. Those children who are not allowed to use social media when seeing their other friends using their smartphones become depressed and mentally unstable. We are destroying our younger generation by allowing them to use social media.

This is the time to overcome this danger.