In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in concerns regarding social media. The same issues that arise in real life, arise online. They may be masked by the anonymity of the Internet, but they are there and can wreak havoc.
According to by Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, young adults with a strong Facebook presence show signs of antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies. In addition, daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on children and teens, making them more prone to anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders. This is in addition to the more obvious social media concerns, such as:
- Peer Pressure
- Sexual Experimentation
The latest concern with social media, as well as with online gaming, which often has a social aspect as well, is the addiction factor. The medical community treats Internet addiction as a very real and growing problem. This has led the American Psychiatric Association to consider classifying it as a diagnosable and treatable disorder, just like anxiety or depression.
According to the latest research, addiction to the Internet affects pleasure centers in the brain, just like drugs and alcohol. While psychological therapy can help those who are exhibiting addictive Internet behaviors, other methods of curbing the addiction are the use of devices that automatically shut off the computer or game after a preset time. Apps are also available to limit game playing or social media access for tablets and smartphones.
The recent survey done by AVG Internet Security, is quite eye-opening:
- More young children know how to play a computer game (58%) than swim (20%) or ride a bike (52%).
- The ability of young children to make a mobile phone call (28%) is higher than those who know to dial 911 in case of an emergency (20%).
- The percentage of children who can operate a computer mouse (69%) is higher than those who can tie their own shoelaces (11%).
While many addicted users are adults, the potential for addiction comes long before the user experiences that “need to be connected.” It is crucial to teach children and teens to balance game time with school, friends, chores and sports. Most would agree that the use of the Internet, including social media and online gaming, offers a wealth of information and entertainment at our fingertips. Never have we been so able to learn, research, play, experience or interact so freely. The benefits of the Internet are vast, but we also must stress the importance of investing in real human interactions, as well as exercising the health benefits of setting aside time to be outside, active, and removed from technology.