Is social media bad for kids? Is it addictive? I don’t know but I can hazard a good guess.
When I started writing this post I had no idea what I was going to write about. I just started writing and this idea about kids and their health and social media came up. Strange. When we put ourselves in connection with the universe it can lead us to the most interesting places.
But half way through writing I got stuck on my social media pages. Damn. Am I addicted? Probably.
Ok I said in the first paragraph I didn’t know if social media is good for kids. I truly believe it can be good but I think generally it is bad. Really bad.
What is Good and What is Bad?
Depression has increased in the last 20 years. You don’t need to be Einstein to know that. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease. All increased dramatically. We blame our diets and that is very true. What we eat is what we become. I highly recommend a plant based diet with lots of turmeric in your food and juices.
We all know the benefits of exercise and how it effects our body. We know through meditation we can find peace. Many people undertake these activities and lead normal healthy lives. But why are more and more people getting depressed, diseased and dying? And it seems more and more young people. Suicide is out of control. Self harm. Drugs. We appear to be on a spiral with no way of slowing down or stopping and certainly no signs of reversing the trend.
We have leaders who are not leading, stuck in a place where political correctness leaves them hamstrung to make any worthwhile and lasting changes. None of them seem to want to improve the world, instead making sure they stay in power for the benefits they receive. Blow the rest of the world. Me. Me. Me. Even on a local level our leaders are there solely for what they can get and who they can influence to help them stay in power.
But people seem to miss the one thing that I believe is having a huge influence on the health of the world. Social Media.
The Monster that is Social Media
Social media is still young in the scheme of things and its credits are many and varied. It has made the world a smaller place. It has bought families that live in different countries closer than ever. It is changing every day and without doubt we wont know what has hit us in 5 years time such will be the changes in technology of all descriptions.
But what damage is it doing? What negative effects is it having? 15 years ago you could go out for dinner and very few people would be checking their mobile phones they would be talking to each other. People would be going to clubs and hotels and singles parties to meet other singles (or not so singles as the case may be) but now they find a quick one night stand on an app on their phone. Very little communication just a meet up, a drink and off to bed. I don’t get that and I could never do it. There is no more face to face talking. It’s all text or phone calls, skype calls or Zoom. Now some of this is great for businesses who save money by not having to fly half way around the globe for a meeting. But what about young kids?
I just want to start the conversation around the negative aspects of social media. Now I am a really positive guy!
However I see kids everywhere totally consumed by social media. It is literally eating them alive. The following is a made up story but it could be a story of any kid in America, Australia, The UK, Ireland, anywhere!
A Day in the Life of a Social Media Addict
Billy is a 23 year old office worker from your average neighbourhood in your average town in your average world.
Billy wakes up to his alarm from his phone at 8am.
He checks his phone for any messages and checks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat for anything exciting he missed overnight.
Billy is anxious as he wants to know everything his friends have done sine he left them at midnight last night. Billy has FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out)
He likes 10 of his friends posts, text’s his best mate. Leaves some cheeky replies on some posts of his more out there friends and sends his girlfriend a selfie of himself topless making a gym pose. She likes to see him topless.
Billy and his girlfriend have never actually met in the flesh but they have an amazing online relationship. One day Billy hopes they can meet in the flesh but it’s not a real priority at the moment.
Billy makes a quick call to a girl he met on Tinder last night and at the same time sends a snapchat to 2 mates with a picture of the meal he ate last night. His 2 mates are thrilled.
Billy checks the time on his phone and realises he is running late for work.
A quick shower with his phone sitting upright so he can see any notifications whilst showering, and he is almost ready for work. A quick toilet visit and check on his Facebook timeline whilst sitting there and then its time to get dressed.
Whilst pulling up his trousers Billy sees a notification appear from Wendy at work that has a picture attached. Billy lets his pants fall back down as he checks the post. Wow! A picture of Wendy’s cat eating some ice cream. Billy laughs out loud and gives it a good like but fearing Wendy may think less of him if he doesn’t post a comment, Billy lets his pants fall down again and writes “LOL! Your cat rocks Wendy! So cool! ROFLOL”
Billy feels better now having replied to the post. He has connected with Wendy from work. He hopes to meet Wendy some day as she seems really nice.
Billy is running too late to eat breakfast but finds time to take a photo of his cup of tea and quickly posts to Instagram and Facebook with the caption “Running late! This is breakfast LOL!”
DRIVING TO WORK
Driving the 5 minutes to work (He used to walk but it rained once) Billy has time to settle in to morning radio and check his social media to see who has replied to his post. No replies yet. With one eye on the road and one on his phone Billy starts to feel anxious. No responses.
Wendy was just online surely she would have seen my post he thinks. Getting more anxious. His mate from the Facebook gaming group he joined a week ago, Eddie, likes his post. Relief. Could have been a laugh emoji he thinks but at this stage he will take a simple thumbs up like.
Arriving at work Billy sits in the car waiting for more love on his post. Two more likes. Billy decides he can’t wait and tags ten friends in his post to make sure they see it. Little bit like buying love, I mean likes.
Billy walks into work feeling depressed. 3 likes on a really funny post leaves Billy not laughing.
Billy tells the boss the traffic was mayhem which is why he was late. The boss knows Billy is a social media addict so just laughs knowing if he pulls him over the coals Billy will go him for bullying.
Sitting at his desk Billy quickly checks social media in case he has missed something and to see who has left a comment on his post. Great news. Two comments! Bad news one of the comments says “What a wanker!” But its ok. Billy knows any comment is a good comment. People are noticing him. (well not real people, online people)
Billy makes it a habit to interrupt his work schedule every 5 minutes in case he misses something on social media. This way he feels connected and part of the artificial world of the internet.
Morning tea. Billy avoids the tea room and any human interaction. He knows it will take away from social media time. He likes and comments on 10 posts, sends a snapchat of his morning coffee with the caption “No breakfast! This is morning tea!! Lol”
Lunchtime – Billy grunts at others in the tea room as he grabs his leftover Macca’s cheeseburger and fries and puts them in the microwave. He knows the smell will evacuate the tea room. His plan works. Everyone looks at him with angry eyes and walks out of the tea room. Everyone except the girl in the office who likes him. He can’t stand her. She sends him a smile. He takes his smelly food and leaves. He takes his lunch and can of fizzy drink to his secret little cubby hole in the cleaners room besides the dump master. Ah, peace at last.
His phone rings and it’s his mum. Billy doesn’t answer as it will take away time from his social media lunch break. He sends her a text “busy.” He needs time with his real friends on social media. He hopes to meet some of them one day.
Another heap of likes and a few comments, some snapchats and a text to his girlfriend with a pic of the dump master and the words ‘My secret place” and he is back to work. But first he quickly puts out a post telling the world he is going back to work. The world remains riveted.
Afternoon tea can’t come quick enough. He notices he now has 23 notifications on Facebook, 12 of them on his really funny breakfast post. He really feels relieved and loved now and those depressive thoughts have now subsided.
He notices just before its time to finish for the day that he is feeling anxious and annoyed that his job that pays him well doesn’t allow enough time to socialise. Online.
As Billy shuts down all his social media and erotica sites, he grabs his phone and checks social media. He lets friends know he has knocked off. He runs to his car for the 5 minute drive home but finds himself still there one hour later. Damn social media!
HOW TO DRIVE AND TEXT AT THE SAME TIME
Being a really good and experienced driver/texter Billy can keep one eye on the road while he texts. As he is driving Billy nearly collides with the car in front of him and curse’s the driver for not breaking 35 seconds earlier to give him time to look up from his text. Shocking drivers he says under his breath.
Billy makes a quick call whilst driving to his bestie and now has one hand on the steering wheel, one hand holding his phone and two eyes on the phone for 5 seconds at a time and then for 3 seconds on the road. This is a skill Billy is trying very hard to master. As he approaches a pedestrian crossing Billy ends his 5 seconds glued to the phone and screeches to a hold as a man in a wheel chair crosses in front of him. Billy yells at him and calls him a ‘Total moron!” “Cars have right of way not bloody wheel chairs!” The man in the wheel chair turns white as he looks at the dog that was run over by Billy and is now limping away.
Billy misses the turn into his driveway twice after unexpected post sightings from friends he hasn’t seen for a while. He also received a text from his best mate who has posted a topless photo of his girlfriend,
Billy finally arrives home and spends 2 hours sitting in his car in the driveway on social media. He forgets he invited 2 friends over. They arrive and join him in the car. A quick grunt of acknowledgement and they all get back to their phones.
At around 8pm Billy decides to take his mates for a spin down to the local all night junk food shop.
THE JUNK FOOD SHOP
As they ordered online there is no need to communicate with staff at the junk food shop. Billy checks in online on Facebook letting his mates know he is at the junk food shop. Other mates see this and join him. 4 cars rock up. No talking just waving and back to the phone. Social media must never rest.
FINALLY GETTING HOME
Billy gets home at midnight and checks his social media in the car still parked in the driveway. After an hour he goes into the house and into bed. He checks his social media in case he missed anything. Billy falls asleep with his phone in his hand with the charger on.
Billy wakes up at 3am and checks his social media to see if he has missed anything. Spends 90 minutes texting, posting and reading other peoples posts that have no effect whatsoever in his life. Sends a text to his girlfriend telling her he loves her. He hopes to meet her one day. Wakes up at 7am. Repeats.
Now someone please tell me that social media is having no effect on young peoples mental behaviour. Someone?
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