Corporate Dishonesty Honesty versus the Bottom Line

12Jan/180

Proposal: Reduce your Kids’ Screen Time

In the past two decades, the popularity and use of social media has increased more than could be imagined. With these increases have come a slew of modern age “diseases” associated with social media and internet addiction. Among those who suffer the most are teenagers who overuse and over-rely on social media sites. The overuse and reliance on social media makes young students suffer academically and handicaps teens when it comes to developing face-to-face social skills. The burden of fixing this problem falls on the parents, as they must limit their teenagers’ social media use by utilizing a couple different strategies. Some parents and certainly most teenagers could be opposed to this and would argue for social media’s countless benefits, but by simply limiting and not eliminating teenagers’ social media use they can still reap these benefits without the potential harms. Parents must step up now to prevent further academic and social harm to their teenagers.

Social media use among teens has undoubtedly exploded in the 21st century. One study of teenage students conducted by researchers for the National Institutes of Health said that 24.74% of students admitted to having problem associated with how long they use social media or the frequency with which they visit sites while 2.02% admitted to having a significant problem that they needed to address (Meena, 2012). While these statistics do not necessarily stand out, when paired with more recent research done by Pew Research Center they can be quite alarming as you can clearly see a huge potential for growth of social media issues among the teenager population. Some of the research done by Pew Research Center include facts such as “24% of teens admit to going online “almost constantly”;” “91% of teens say they access the internet from their phone;” “88% of teens (age 13-17) say they have cell phones” and that “71% of teens say they use more than one social networking site” (Steyer, 2015). These statistics clearly show how this problem is poised to have a massive and far reaching effect on our young population.

It is no surprise that social media overuse affects teenagers both academically and socially, as some researchers at Chicago University concluded that “social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes or booze.” (Walker, 2017). Socially, it creates a faceless way for kids to communicate and miss out on real-life experiences like Ehmke mentions “what [teens] were doing was succeeding and failing in tons of tiny real-time interactions that kids today are missing out on.” (Ehmke, 2018). This indirect form of communication that is so popular among teens is a result of increased social media use -- it can be much easier to deal with difficult or emotional situations when hiding behind a screen or having time to think about or create a response. Ehmke would agree with this as she mentions “There’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills.” and when she states, “No wonder kids say calling someone on the phone is “too intense”-- it requires a more direct form of communication.” (Ehmke, 2018). Besides the social consequences of social media overuse among teens there is a very serious risk for teens’ academics to be impacted as well. The academic consequences come from the procrastination made possible by social media. The number of teenagers with cell phones, and therefore access to social media at their fingertips is almost 90%. As seen from statistics above, roughly 26% of students admit to having an academic problem associated with their social media use (Meena, 2012). Although when you consider how easy social media is to access with smartphones the percentage is most likely much higher (whether the teens realize they are impacted academically or not) and will only continue to grow in today’s world of increasing technology.

What parents need to do is reduce their teens’ screen time on social media by limiting the amount of time they can access it. This can be negotiated with one’s child in many ways that can leave both the teens and their parents satisfied while still addressing the issues of social media’s impact academically and socially. Parents can allot their kids a daily time usage or weekly usage, perhaps one hour a day or seven a week but add restrictions such as no social media usage prior to completion of homework or any studying that is required. Once their teen completes any academic work, they will be allowed their allotted social media time if they choose. Parents could also give teens an option to earn more social media time in return for social interactions. If they sign up for sports teams or after school clubs, anything that requires face-to-face direct communication with peers then parents may allow them extra time on social media. Setting up a plan like this with one’s teens can benefit both their academics and their social interaction skills that can be hampered by social media. It also benefits teens as excessive social media use can lead to teens developing low self-esteem or depression and cause them to lose up to two hours of sleep each night (Monroy, 2016). A plan like this could be enforceable with a little help from the school. While at home, it would be relatively easy to monitor a teen’s internet and social media use but with smartphones kids can get online almost anywhere at any time. Parents could talk to schools or teachers and set up a program where their kids can drop off their phones at the beginning of class and retrieve them after. This would prevent any distractions during school while leaving kids access to their phone in emergencies. Smartphone internet usage can also be monitored online and disabled during the day if the parents wish to have further insurance that their kid is not accessing social media at school or when they are not supposed to. Some parents have already seen positive results from their teens using less social media. When Sara V watched a movie about the risks of social media and internet use with her kid, her child voluntarily gave up social media for 21 days. She said it encouraged him to do more activities outside and with his peers and that “it initiated more creativity as his awareness developed of how technology was thwarting that part of him.” (V, 2017). This is a prime example of how limiting kids screen time on social media can benefit both the kids and the parents even if they do not realize there is a problem. Based on experiments like this, it seems that once kids give limiting their screen time a chance they realize all the benefits of doing so and are much happier and successful as a result.

It is possible that some parents and teenagers would oppose a plan like one previously mentioned based on the fact that social media has plenty of benefits when it comes to networking and staying connected with people and current events. While this argument is undeniable, social media’s benefits can still be utilized in full because these plans only limit social media use instead of eliminating it. Teens can still stay connected with friends and family while learning important online social skills that come along with indirect communication. Some teens would definitely argue that their social media use is not a problem socially or academically and would be hesitant to submit to a deal as proposed above. A parent could persuade a teen to try the plan for a month or even two weeks, asking the teen at the end whether they feel more fulfilled socially, as they will hopefully have had much more face-to-face interactions with their peers. A parent could also measure their academic performance before and after beginning the plan to see if their performance improves after implementation. A teen should see their academics either increase or remain the same and will hopefully be more active and fulfilled socially and therefore accept the plan, giving them access to developing key social skills without them even realizing it.

Social media overuse among teenagers is clearly a growing problem in today’s world with such a heavy emphasis on technology. Teens and their parents need to be aware of how much the teen uses social media and many might be surprised to learn just how it affects them academically and socially. By trying out a plan that limits teens’ social media use and promotes school work and face-to-face social interaction, teens and their parents can see just how big an impact their online use actually has on them. Parents who emphasize the importance of social media and online interactions can still have the teens reap the benefits of social media by limiting and not completing eliminating their child’s use. As social media screen use becomes more and more prevalent among teens it becomes a necessity to limit social media screen time and online interaction to prevent any social and academic harm to the teenager.

References

Ehmke, R. (2018). How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from https://childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/

Meena, P. S., Mittal, P. K., & Solanki, R. K. (2012, December). Problematic Use of Social Networking Sites among Urban School going Teenagers. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830174/

Monroy, C. (2016, December 16). LIMITING TEENS USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Medium. Retrieved January 08, 2018, from https://medium.com/@catmonroy/limiting-teens-use-of-social-media-8513c007e8fc

Steyer, C. (2015, July 20). 8 Fascinating Facts About How Teens Use The Internet And Social Media. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tk-facts-about-teens-on-social-media-that-are-really-scary_us_55a7c6f0e4b0896514d06eab

V, S. (2017). Screenagers: Growing up in a Digital Age - Testimonials. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from https://www.screenagersmovie.com/testimonials/

Walker, L. (2017, December 28). How to Tell If You Have a Social Networking Addiction. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-social-networking-addiction-2655246

 

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