Social Media and Mental Health of Kids
In 2021, Frances Haugen gained significant attention for her role as a whistleblower. She came forward with internal documents and testified before the US Congress.
Frances alleged that Facebook prioritized profits over the well-being of its users and knowingly allowed harmful content to spread on its platform.
Her disclosures highlighted various issues, including the company’s handling of misinformation, the negative impact of its algorithms on mental health, and its role in exacerbating societal division. Her actions sparked widespread discussions about social media’s impact on society, online safety, and the need for greater regulation and accountability in the tech industry.
France’s efforts have drawn attention to the ethical and societal implications of social media platforms. They have resulted in increased scrutiny of Facebook’s policies and practices. Her actions also contributed to the ongoing debate.
Over 2,000 families are suing social media companies, not just Facebook. This year, over 350 lawsuits are expected to be filed against Snapchat, Meta, Tiktok, and YouTube, according to CBS News.
Some of the families said that they had no clue about the severity of the issue. They did not know that these platforms have been drawing their kids into the dark world.
Even though parents have placed restrictions on their phones, their kids would do everything to be part of a certain group. They have found a way to bypass the parental controls.
The impact of social media on the mental health of children and adolescents is a complex and evolving topic. Indeed, social media platforms offer numerous benefits.
People use them to connect with their family and friends. They also use them to share information and express themselves.
However, it is not always rainbows and butterflies on these platforms because they can also have potentially negative effects.
For instance, Facebook has been accessed as a platform for cyberbullying, harassment, and online abuse. Many children and adolescents experienced negative comments, rumors, or exclusion when using these platforms. As a result, they have developed anxiety and depression.
The constant availability of social media can make it challenging for victims to escape these harmful experiences.
Social media often portrays idealized versions of people’s lives, which can lead to social comparison and feelings of inadequacy. Kids compare themselves to carefully curated and edited representations of others. And these have impacted their self-esteem and body image. They contributed to feelings of anxiety, low self-worth, and even the development of eating disorders.
Generating the Fear of Missing Out
These platforms also generate a fear of missing out on exciting experiences or social events portrayed by others. Constant exposure to friends’ activities can make children and adolescents feel excluded or left out. FOMO can lead to increased anxiety and stress. It can also diminish the sense of well-being.
The excessive use of these platforms can also lead to feelings of social isolation and loneliness. Even though they aim to connect individuals globally, they may also lead to decreased face-to-face interactions and real-world connections.
Social media platforms promised to work closely with experts, parents, and policymakers on these vital issues.