2 February, 2023


Age Limitations For Teens On Social Media

By Dinuka Jayasinghe

Dinuka Jayasinghe

Social media sites have taken over our lives and it’s hard to imagine that 10 years ago there was no Facebook. Through social media, anyone online is empowered by an unrestricted flow of information to add to their knowledge. Social media has removed communication barriers vibrantly.

As media has the power to change the opinions of people, it can bring a great positive changes in society. Media have access to people and it provides a lot of strength. This strength can either be used constructively by educating the people or it can be used destructively by misleading the innocent people.

Teens and the Internet

There are 6 Mn + active social media users in Sri Lanka right now. That is more than 30% of our population. Starting from mid-2017, users in Sri Lanka on Facebook increased from 5Mn to 6Mn in less than 6 months. As per the stats of TRCSL, there are 1.5Mn + users age between 10-18. 

As per a National Survey done by Australian Phycology Society (APS) it is found that more than three in four young people (78.8%) are highly involved with their mobile phones. Young people are reportedly using social media for an average of 3.3 hours or more each day.

The survey also found 15% of teenagers reported being approached by strangers on a daily basis through their online world.

It’s high time to get rid of social media addiction before it’s too late

It is an indeed fact a life without smart phones and social media is unthinkable to many of today’s teens. Although these tech and social media brings many educational and creative opportunities, it also contains dangers which we don’t always consider. Rather than education kids more likely to be addictive to video games and social media. It seems obvious that these techs aren’t benefitting our children’s lives. Facebook stats says, time spent looking at mobile screen has tripled in just 4 years.

Knowing how to navigate the online social networking world is crucial for parents and teens these days. Being educated and talking about online experiences can help reduce many negative impacts on youth mental health and well-being.

Have you ever known that there are age restrictions for Social Media????

We have age restrictions on smoking, alcohol, pornography, etc….. But we have no age restrictions on social media and smart phones. 

The minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat is 13. YouTube requires account holders to be 18. According to a study it is found more than 50% of children in the world already used a Social network by the time they are 10. 

Despite these clearly stated and published age restrictions, large and growing numbers of children 12 and under are using social media networks, often with or without their parent’s knowledge and consent. 

The question is, in Sri Lanka do our parents have the knowledge to check these social media platforms, restrictions, etc….. Educating parents regarding this matter is essential.

Is it true that Silicon Valley Giants severely limited Tech use for their children???

Have you ever heard of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Evan Williams (founder of twitter) didn’t raise their kids with technology? They didn’t allow them to touch a cellphone until age 14. In Sri Lanka average age for a child getting a cellphone is 10. And we are more proud of it…… 

When Jobs was asked shortly after the IPad’s launch whether his kids enjoying the new product, his reply was “They haven’t used it,” Jobs responded. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” 

Isn’t this the best example????? 

The question is what it is these Tech giants know about their own products that their consumers don’t? The answer is simple, that is harmful addictive power of digital technology.

Facebook Depression

The time before these social media and smart devices taken place, kids were doing physical activities, which is far better than using social media devices. There is another thing that these social media is happy to introduce younger children to an adult world without moral boundaries which leads to child depression.

A Recent research has found that risk for depression jumps 27% when a teenager frequently uses social media. Also found that kids in America who uses social media for more than 3 hours a day more likely to homicidal? We can’t simply ignore this fact as we are one of the best in the world in Suicidal rate.

A study found children who frequently uses social media are more likely to lose soft skills, self-esteem respect for others and creativity.  

An early gadget use for your kid can damage your child in many ways, such as speech delay, attention deficits, learning and sleep problems, anxiety and childhood depression.

Do you know that there is a Plea for a ban of all tech handheld devices in children under 10? 

Beware of what your child sees on Facebook

It’s fun to log on Facebook and see viral videos, political rants, news stories, jokes and lovable pictures and of course posts of your friends and family shared.

About 6 months ago, there was a video of a Thai man killed his infant daughter and himself on Facebook Live. The video appeared on both Facebook and YouTube before being taken down by the companies. There’s nothing more shocking than seeing something like this in real time. 

These type of videos increase the tendency of suicides by making them more common. Facebook yet to find a way to block these type of live videos. Therefore Facebook employing an extra 3,000 people to live monitor its sites for murders, suicides or other horrific videos

Imagine your child witnessed such kind of video. What would happen? Wouldn’t it be a lifelong memory, seeing a daughter being killed by her father????

Do you ever want your child to be seen these kind videos on Facebook????

Why looking at your phone at night is a terrible idea? Is it scientifically proven? 

Yes, our bodies naturally follow a cycle that allows us to stay awake and alert during the day and helps us get essential rest at night. But when we look at these screens as we’re getting ready to sleep, our brains get confused. Bright light can make the brain think it’s time to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body “time to sleep” cues.

That makes it harder to fall and stay asleep which could lead to serious health problems.

How smartphone light affects your body

  • Staring at Smartphone too long reduces blinking rates
  • Damage your memory
  • Disrupting melatonin can also mess with hormones that control hunger
  • Decrease learning capacity 
  • Reduce cognitive capacity and ability to focus

Have you ever concerned about how our Internet service providers responsible to increase of night time data usage??? Doesn’t it need to change? It’s high time to rethink ….  

Teach your kids to use Social media wisely

In Sri Lankan point of view educating parents about these social media platform much more likely to be a hard topic. However it has to be done ASAP as our younger generation getting used to it rapidly. Knowing how to navigate the online social networking world is crucial for parents and teens.

It’s Simple

  • Stick to site age requirements – Don’t let your kids to use Facebook until they are 13
  • Set clear ground rules on social media usage – Set timing ex. only 1 hour a day
  • Educate your child on the dangers of the internet
  • Don’t let kids have a computer in their room

There is nothing wrong with Smart phones and Social Media, it’s the IMBALANCE.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Lovely presentation (Little bit biased to prove your point, but that’s ok you say that in the end that imbalance is the problem). I’m not a fan of Universal Regulations but It’s nice to critically look at the necessity to be aware of the dangers of our actions so we ourselves can be responsible for our actions

  • 3

    Why Sri Lankans need to be educated on constructive use of social media, notably Facebook, but the same people need no education on destructive use of the same.

    Anyway, you’re talking about the problem more than a practical solution. My personal opinion is to ban Facebook and similar social media without clear purpose of them but only distract people from engaging in important tasks. Only purpose of Facebook I see is to waste your time and make Mark Zuckerberg richer and richer, though it might help travel, lodging and food industries to advertise them, that is not going to help an average Sri Lankans.

    I have been using these social media tools for a long time, Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and others. I don’t see Facebook comes closer to other 3 mentioned on the positive side, and clearly others have their own clear purpose why an individual would use them and that might be the reason the other social media tools aren’t able to get closer to Facebook’s popularity worldwide and in Sri Lanka – We seem to be surrounded by more purposeless people.

  • 0

    Not all non-teens are mature. Look at Donald Trumph!

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