BY REGAN HENNING
Experiencing a completely different upbringing than their elders, the younger generation was born into a world where electronics are regularly implemented into their life. Watching family videos recorded with a camera that can now only be described as ancient will no longer be a tradition. With smartphones taking over everything, all the pictures, videos, and memories exist in one device that will end up in the possession of a child sooner or later. It is very rare to find a home that stays away from mobile devices which result in the children in that house finding their entertainment in the form of being on a screen instead of playing with toys or going outside. Considering the younger generation will determine the state of our future, monitoring what they do on devices and for how long can be very beneficial, as it can help them avoid falling into a digital trance at their impressionable young age.
Teenager’s obsession with phones and social media is nothing new, and there are developments helping them find more control over the addiction. For example, here at Truman the new cell phone policy has been put in place to disconnect from phones so students can focus on their education. On top of that, it’s forcing them to actually communicate with their peers face to face which may not be as terrifying as it sounds. While the digital trance may have a hold over teenagers, the majority of them didn’t have one in their hand at the ripe age of three. In fact, it happened quite a bit later whereas kids at ages 2-4 now average about two hours and forty minutes of screen time a day, according to the national study “Common Sense Media Report.” The adults these kids grow up to be will be unlike anything the world has ever dealt with, and if the information that’s being received through these screens is more harmful than good, problems will be sure to follow.
Hours spent without moving a muscle, fervently anticipating another Snapchat notification or just one text can have negative effects of its own, the content on it can either become dangerous or make things better if used properly. If abused, screen time can result in problems with sleep, mental health, physical health, vision, and relationships. Awareness really only comes with age, but most kids don’t know better and are more likely to ignore the dangers that come with having social media or having a phone in general. A poll found that 25 percent of children six and under already have a phone and spend a little over 20 hours a week on it. Growing up in that culture will mold the weak and naive minds to rely on phones and be influenced heavily by the content on them. However, monitoring the time spent on these devices can cut down on some of the negativity that is seen, and can lead to positive habits that may resemble the upbringing of toddlers just 20 years ago when everyone’s lives didn’t revolve around smart phones.
Living in the digital age, it’s hard to get a break and unplug from electronics. But, this isn’t a bad thing all the time. Without electronics, news would not travel as fast, tasks would be harder to complete, and communicating wouldn’t be as fast and easy. There are some major benefits to using mobile devices, but cutting back will help kids learn that they can have fun in other ways besides scrolling through social media for hours. Social media is a magnet for cyber bullies, and if young kids join a media they are more susceptible to seeing someone get bullied or they themselves could get bullied. Young children shouldn’t be exposed to that hostile of an environment and it could have an effect on their personality, decisions, and who they become as they grow up.
Youngsters strive to imitate their older peers and while they aren’t allowed to be on most social media yet because of the age restriction they are still creating accounts and taking in content much too grown for their eyes.. Three-fourths of students that have yet to graduate from elementary school have at least one social media account per the BBC’s children’s program “Newsround”. So, 75% of children are allowing themselves to be vulnerable to this judgmental society. They put themselves at risk. They can be at the mercy of many sarcastic quips or snappish remarks. This can hinder their performance in a variety of tasks and discourage them from reaching their potential. Soon to be the leaders of the world, children should be regularly focused on and made a priority so they can be guided in the right direction. The center of a child’s life should be family, friends, happiness, and safety. They should learn and grow based on that and have confidence and harmony in their life and decisions and not based off of what they see on social media. The media can manipulate fragile minds and cause insecurities to form in a child instead and cause them to think their life will only be good if it is a mirror of a famous model or another star.
Wanting the future of our world in good hands, parents, teachers, and friends should be encouraging the youth of their abilities and giving them confidence in the skills they have so they won’t have to turn to other sources for the same verification. Children shouldn’t have to question if they’re good enough when they’re too young to know how the world works. Mobile devices only add to those worries so cutting back could regain some of their courage and give them a stronger backbone when it comes to social media. It’s important to always make sure there is some form of monitoring so they aren’t going overboard at the impressionable age they’re at.
Many years from now when teenagers or adults decide to take a trip down memory lane, the family videos will be perfectly focused and saved on an iPhone that will be just as ancient as real cameras are now. The quality will be perfect and they will have the ability to send the video to anyone they want. New technology will be out and the toddlers now will be in charge of it all. We want them to grow up in a stable environment that leads them to be the best possible adult they can be so everyone can be in good hands. Does anyone really want to live in a world held up by puppet strings, being tugged at on a whim by a million carbon copies of Logan and Jake Paul?