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How Social Media Is Affecting Younger Generations

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Background:


Hi! My name is Margaret French and I’m a senior at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The subject of how social media affects the mental health of children and teens has been something I have curious and passionate about since middle school. As a teen I have experienced both positive and negative encounters surrounding social media, and I believe this has given me the ability to accurately and fairly discuss my topic with you.


Growing up in the era of social media has presented difficulties to future generations. Today, children and teens struggle to maintain a healthy balance with the amount of time they are spending on social media. We’d like to think that social media is a way of fulfilling our basic human need for socialization with others, but surprising is causing children and teens to feel more isolated than ever before.

After asking students from the ages of 12 to 18 how social media makes them feel these were the results:

The Issue:

What is social media addiction?

A social media addiction can be defined as an addiction to social media platforms to the point where it affects other aspects in your life. While it is not officially recognized as a disorder there is evidence to suggest that it is starting to impact children and teens heavily.

In 2016, The University of Pennsylvania created a case study called, “Association Between Social Media Use and Depression In Young Adults.” In this study, they found that “social media was significantly associated with depression.”

Recently, social media has been shown to hinder children’s ability to have face to face communication with others. This is said to be caused by the recent ability to talk someone via text or other social media platforms and say whatever you please whether nice or hurtful. Since face to face communication is a necessary ability to be able to talk to parents, teachers, peers, and future employers, the concern for the youth of this generation should run high.

By: Common Sense Media

Above is an infographic created by Common Sense Media showing the total amount of hours today’s tweens and teens use. This has become the new norm for Gen Z and will continue if we do not do something about it.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve read more about the possible affects social media could have on the youth of this and other generations, be aware of the your screen time and the amount of screen time those around you use. Whether it’s you, your niece or nephew, a younger cousin, or just a friend it is important to promote healthy habits for social media.

How you can start:

Try and limit your daily amount of screen time. You could even make it into a game with your family for more motivation.

For parents, it’s important to manage the amount of time your kids are using social media. Easy ways to do this are:

Giving them a certain amount of hours they can spend on their phones. (60 to 90 minutes is suggested)

Don’t let them go to bed with their phones.

Try and lessen their phone usage while doing homework, while this can promote a skill for multitasking it’s still distracts them from their work.

When your babies or toddlers are bored don’t always just give them your phone to play games. The less they use the devices at a young age the less likely they are to become dependent from social media platforms.

For more helpful resources:

Visit Common Sense Media:

The link to Common Sense Media is:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/kids-action/about-us/our-approach

Helpful Apps:

OFFTIME : OFFTIME is an app that helps filter distractions on your phone. You’re able to track your daily phone usage and it has different modes you can put it on so that you can use the apps you need but don’t get distracted by the ones you don’t.

Forest: When you open the app you plant a seed and start to grow a tree. The longer you stay on task, the bigger the tree becomes.

Moment: Moment lets you track your daily phone usage and can set limits for your device. Also, Moment has a tracking ability. So, for parents this could be useful.

What are some fun activities you could be doing instead of sitting on your phone?

Click the link below to respond:

https://www.polleverywhere.com/discourses/OvaOTznnaYl51nu6Jeb91?preview=true

Sources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTkUy988tFKdDrb8PeHHPFtmb6ijnEEnmsNPvO2zGZy9OGb0Mn-ykrPo2rqRo1JSbN4C64hY2ktyj2_/pub

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COMMENTS: 14
  1. April 25, 2019 by Peter French Reply

    Very useful information. Thank you, Maisie.

    • April 29, 2019 by Maisie French Reply

      Thanks Pete 🙂

  2. April 25, 2019 by David Brake Reply

    The “how it makes you feel” word chart is particularly disturbing—alone that should be enough to open some eyes to the problem.
    Well done!

  3. April 28, 2019 by Ana Reply

    Hey Maisie, I loved your project! I honestly saw a lot of myself in the social media addiction page and thought that the solutions you offered were super helpful. I’m definitely going to start implementing those in my life.

    • April 29, 2019 by Maisie French Reply

      Thank you I’m glad you liked it!

  4. April 28, 2019 by Laura Reysz Reply

    Hi Maisie, thank you for presenting an issue that has no easy answers but is something we must look at. I appreciate your plan and especially giving apps and advice to help.

  5. April 28, 2019 by Heather Gadalla Reply

    Hi Maisie! Thank you for calling attention to such an important issue in our society and for providing services like the apps for people to use!

  6. April 28, 2019 by Lilly.Whitner Reply

    Hey Maisie! Your page was super interesting and this really is such a relevant issue for our age group. The setting on apple phones that allow you to check how many hours you’ve spent on your phone that week / day is super striking / concerning!! The number of recorded hours for myself that I see each week are often considerably higher than I always think they will be… imagine what I could do with all that extra time!!! My question for you: how can parents of younger children work to combat this issue as they raise toddlers / grade school children and the amount of screentime they are allotted… I often see parents who’s 3 year olds have their very own iPads…. what are the effects of this? What research has been done in this area?

    • April 29, 2019 by Maisie French Reply

      Thank you for your question! I think the best way for parents to go about the amount of screen time their children are allowed to use should be based on what are they using the devices for. Obviously, for older teens, we use our devices for our homework as well as social media. So, for parents I think it’s important to do more research. If parents are letting their 3 year olds use iPads and iPhones daily it’s important for them to learn how that may affect them currently and as they grow up. From the research I’ve done on the topic, I learned that the amount of screen time kids have does affect they way they are able communication with others. When you’re only talking to people through texting and apps like snapchat it makes it hard for these younger kids to learn the ability to have face to face conversations. As for your last question, there’s been multiple studies done on the topic of children and technology, but since this generation is the future I think it’s important that more research is done so that we can find the full affects it has.
      Thank you so much for your questions!

  7. April 29, 2019 by Loucas Xenakis Reply

    Whatsup Margaret!
    As somebody who uses social media quite often, your topic obviously had me interested. The data you provide is informative and to the point, which I like. Your site has well placed graphics and diagrams as well as useful links which connect to your project. It is a great addition that somebody viewing this page can automatically be directed to other sites that give personal solutions. I have already downloaded the app you suggested so I’ll keep you updated on the benefits. Great work!

    • April 29, 2019 by Maisie French Reply

      Thank you!! Personally I’ve used some of the recommended apps and it’s helped me get off my phone and be more in-touch with the real world. I’m so glad you liked the project!

  8. May 04, 2019 by Jeffrey Reply

    Hi Margaret. I really liked your project. It was very well organized and clear. I also liked how you had an audio clip of your introduction it gave it a personal touch. Your project had a good balance of words and pictures. One thing you have included that I haven’t seen is introducing apps that can be useful. I find this very effective as apps are very easily accessible. Overall great project!

  9. May 04, 2019 by Alyssa.Chang Reply

    Hi! I like the way you presented! Ever since I entered middle school I notice that I spend too much time on social media. I think social media is a powerful tool to connect with different people around the world; however, there are also many negative effects that come along. Do you think parents controlling middle schoolers screen time is a good idea, or do you think they should know how to control screen time themselves?

  10. May 05, 2019 by Takuma.Warren Reply

    The graph of how social media makes you feel was very eye-opening. While it is very sad that so many people are made distraught because of social media I think there is a certain comfort in knowing how many people feel the same way and maybe with more awareness people will not feel so beaten down. Aside from that social media addiction on its own is a huge issue and I’m glad you brought it to the forefront.

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