There is a lot of discussion online about social media and how bad it is for all of us, from the degrading comment sections of videos and articles to the unattainable beauty standards we are all subjected to.
Why is social media so often called ‘toxic’?
When we describe something as “toxic,” we mean that it is harmful to us. Whether we’re discussing a romantic partnership, a social setting like the office, or even friendships. In these situations, “toxicity” is frequently difficult to identify at first glance and is typically sneaky, meaning that a person is affected over time and gradually by its harmful effects.
What social media platforms are the most dangerous for children?
All social media platforms have the potential to be harmful in various ways. This essay will examine how various platforms can be toxic in various ways and how our online conduct can be detrimental to kids and teenagers who regularly use these platforms.
Trends in social media
Social media networks are toxic not just because of how they operate, but also because of how we use them. The following list includes some of the most harmful social media trends to emerge in recent years:
We all make errors, but frequently our prior transgressions on social media can come back to haunt us. Whether an apology is made or not, cancel culture is the act of removing someone from social media or the public eye.
This is a type of stalking that takes place on social media, where one user follows another to find out personal or incriminating information about them with the intention of utilizing it to harm them either personally or professionally.
Delusions of grandeur
Sometimes toxic content is not inherently harmful. Glossing over life’s challenges, failing to address important concerns, and projecting the idea that everything is fine are all deceptive.
Being the busiest, most successful, and most prolific are all tendencies that have been influenced by social media. This can result in a lot of additional pressure for kids who are naturally competitive to “be the best” and achieve more and more, which can lead to burnout, anxiety, and other difficulties.
Why is toxic social media negative for a child’s mental health?
Social media is made to be enticing and addictive. It constantly looks for new ways to entice you back in, whether it’s through algorithms that show you more of the stuff you like or a compensation system for the content you publish in the form of comments and likes.
Here are a few negative behaviours that can manifest from toxic social media consumption:
Comparing lifestyles too much
For many young people, seeing these photographs might lead to a false idea of what they’should’ look like, be accomplishing, and have in their lives. Filters, body changing software, and displaying a luxurious and fun-filled life isn’t real life.
FOMO (fear of missing out)
Before social media, a child would not have known they were turned away from a friend’s party or another social event. A constant window into everyone’s lives is provided by social media, and if someone is having a good time while you’re not, it may cause a lot of self-doubt and anxiety.
Bullies have discovered new ways to harm their victims as a result of the growth of social media. Bullies can harm other people by spouting false information, harassing individuals, and disseminating offensive material. It goes without saying that this has a negative impact on the wellbeing of children.
Lisa preferred Margaret’s post over mine, though. Why?’ She might not have noticed it, which is the most plausible explanation. “Liking” someone’s material isn’t a conventional social contact because it excludes all the regular context of exchanges in real life. Without these indicators, it’s quite easy for an anxious mind to start conjuring up all the possible explanations for why someone might not have appreciated your work, when the truth might be that they just missed it.
Should you keep your children away from social media?
10 years ago, it may have been possible to simply pull your kids off of social media for their own good, but it has become extremely difficult these days due to peer pressure and the ubiquitous presence of social media in our daily lives.
If you simply cannot restrict or prohibit your children from using social media, the next best way to keep them safe is to exercise extreme caution. Some ways of mitigating the toxicity so commonplace on social media include: doing a ‘digital detox,’ unfollowing accounts that trigger negative emotions, setting parental controls, and communicating clearly with your children to learn how they feel.