Indiscriminate use of Social media by students during the pandemic and its impact
Social media addiction among teens and young adults has increased multifold during the pandemic. It is considered a behavioral disorder in which the individuals are totally captivated or trapped by social media and are unable to free themselves from its clutches despite clear consequences and drawbacks. Teenagers engage in some form of social media or other or if not several, on a daily basis (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Discord, Video games).
This has led to increased indiscriminate and blind consumption of media, increased dependence on social media as a way to feel good, losing out on physical social engagements, causing a negative impact on learning, strained relationships with family and friends.
A very important cause for concern is the decline in mental health as a result of increased Social media addiction and also the fact that Social media is an easy platform for online aggression, cyberbullying, impacting the emotional wellbeing of children. All this has led to a decreased focus on academics and a decline in academic performance.
FOMO or ‘Fear Of Missing Out is apparently “that uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out on or not being included in what your peers are doing”, which is another main reason why teenagers are unable to be off social media.
The only way to save our youth from the fangs of social media addiction is not to totally deprive them of their engagement on Social media, but to prevent addiction to it by way of supporting them and guiding them to engage with social media safely, responsibly, and effectively.
We need to remind them to balance their time spent online with chores, homework, spending quality time with family and friends rather than being cooped up in front of the computer or phone screens all the time. It is important to keep a watch on the activities the children are engaged in instead of allowing them to be all by themselves and engage liberally with social media.
While this is indeed an uphill battle, we still can have an influence on the way our children see the effects of social media, helping them make the right decisions.