Social Media’s Harmful Impacts On Children
Some of these apps may appear harmless at first. They just want to post fun dances with their friends. TikTok for example has over one billion users and girls aged 12 to 19 are its largest demographic. However, this does not prevent them from seeing all the unfiltered images and increasingly stupid challenges. #DIY-FANGS where kids superglue vampire fangs in their mouth, or #BlackoutChallenge, choking oneself till you blackout, and others that encourage licking public toilets or eating a container of frozen honey.
The point is that children are constantly barraged by images that imprint on their brains. Images they should not see, images they use to judge themselves by, and yes images they use to judge others by. TikTok is not alone, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and the next newest app will take social media to the next level of uncharted territory and stupidity amongst teens.
Bullying in the schoolyard is not the same as it was. Cyberbullying which is much more easily hidden is a new form of bullying, even more, harmful in that it can be captured and shared over and over. Children do not have the ability to filter and as a result are exposed to not only cyberbullying but stalking, online predators, sharing personal information, and the next risky viral trend.
One of the greatest risks of early unmonitored social media use to children is the impact on their self-esteem, especially young girls. There is a reason the tech titans do not allow their kids on social media. Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his kids use an iPad. If it is bad for their kids, I can assure you they know it is bad for your kids too.