Warning! Content Economy Harms Kids

ARTICLES | Nov 08, 2022
Warning! Content Economy Harms Kids

The internet and social media already affect us all the time… and soon we’ll be living on virtual platforms! Every social media user can be a content creator in any field, from food to hobbies, travel, work, learning, entertainment. A hot topic, though, is how social media affects child development.

 

For an adult, being recorded in pictures and videos can be annoying. But we become habituated or desensitized. Children, especially Generation Z and Alpha, are different. These digital natives were born into social media. They see the connection between the physical and virtual worlds. Social media, therefore, has a massive impact on their development, especially socially and cognitively, from early childhood to adolescents. Children are videoed for online content by teachers or parents. Young people watch influencers or key opinion leaders (KOL) showing lifestyles around the world, often modified to look better than reality. Young people learn language from the internet and join online viral challenges. These activities affect their social interaction with those around them. Online relationships can boost or crush their self-esteem and self-control. Children can suffer insults, bullying, or harm from issues like beauty standards or gender norms.

 

Advertising and exploitation of online platforms are also inevitable. Sooner or later, youngsters become crucial consumers with purchasing power. They need to be able to distinguish the primary content from the marketing. Online advertising is getting better camouflaged each day. Reviewers and famous brand representatives mightn’t really use the products or services they promote.

 

 

Implications for the future:

- There are no perfect guidelines, but parents and teachers should take care of children in the real world and online, according to the platform.

- Parents should be careful with social media to set a good example for their children.

- Children’s privacy and rights as individuals require clear protocols to prevent teachers and parents from commercial exploitation.

- Educational content on social media, especially for young people, should keep pace with rapid social development in beauty, identity exploration, focusing on love and relationships, to ensure youths have self-value ​​and grow up with well-being.

- Metaverse ethics will become a hot topic not only for business and the government but also the public, especially parents.

 

 

Reference:

- Social media use and its impact on adolescent mental health: An umbrella review of the evidence https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.08.017

- Keeping up with influencers: exploring the impact of social presence and parasocial interactions on Instagram https://doi.org/10.1080/02650487.2021.1886477

- Navigating the Social Environment in Adolescence: The Role of Social Brain Development https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.09.012

- Associations of media use and early childhood development: cross-sectional findings from the LIFE Child study https://www.nature.com/articles/s41390-021-01433-6

- Effects of Social Media on Children https://health.clevelandclinic.org/dangers-of-social-media-for-youth/

 

 

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