Spending time on social media has become almost a way of life for most teens — scrolling through Instagram feeds of their friends, Snapping at their life, and making wacky dances on TikTok for hours a day.
If you have seen "Social Dilemma" or "The Great Hack," you can see how the Social Media platforms in competition for our attention manipulate our evolutionary mechanism to achieve maximum time on-site and revenue per user.
The time we sacrifice for social media is time we will never get back. What we forgo to maintain the 3 hours a day average we spend on social media is always something that has a cost.
Attention and cognition are the foundation on which all our capacities depend — our ability to think, concentrate, solve problems, and be present with each other. Technology's constant interruptions and precisely-targeted distractions, which have been designed to keep us more engaged with tech products, are taking a major toll on these critical functions." - Tristan Harris
Jeff Seibert, a former exec at Twitter, says that these companies track what image you look at and "for how long you look at it." Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and the co-founder Center for Humane Technology, says this means the artificial intelligence or AI behind the app knows what you like and what kind of images and videos will keep you engaged on the platform.
They know when you or your child is lonely, bored, depressed, looking at pictures of a friend group, or former love interest. The algorithm can predict what kinds of emotions tend to trigger you and the best way to keep you scrolling or typing. As explained in the documentary, social media is now classed as an addictive activity because it turns your "psychology against you" so that you stay stuck to the screen.
Gen Z, kids born after 1996, is the first generation to have social media on their phones at the impressionable middle-school age. What does that mean for the generation?
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, PhD, a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, explains. Between 2011 and 2013 There has been an increase in depression and anxiety for American tweens and teenagers.
- Admissions for nonfatal self-harm has gone up by 62 percent for girls between the ages of 15 and 19. For girls who fall into the 10 to 14 age range, the figure has increased by 189 percent since social media became mainstream.
- Suicides in teen girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have increased by 70 percent compared to the first decade of the century. The suicide rate of preteen girls (between the ages of 10 and 14) has increased by 151 percent.
"They're much less comfortable taking risks," Haidt argued, citing the lower numbers of teens who go on dates and/or get their driver's license.
These are some of Dr. Haidt's tips for parents.
- Do not let your child have social media accounts until the age of 16, when they have more discernment.
- Do not have cell phones in bedrooms. Put them away at least an hour before bed.
In case you didn't know, porn sites like Pornhub have made the content on their sites free and easy to access to "help" us all pass the time while in quarantine. Porn usage is rising, with 9 out of 10 boys and 7 out of 10 girls admitting they have repeatedly looked at porn.
The impact of social media on teenagers' mental health is an important issue that we should all be concerned about it. While social media can have some positive effects, such as allowing teens to connect with friends and family, there is a dark side to it as well. Users' constant comparisons between their lives and the perfectly curated filters.
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