In the video: the conclusions of the State Comptroller's report on child protection in the online space (photograph and production: State Comptroller's Office)
Almost all of us walk around with our mobile phone and receive notifications from different apps on a regular basis.
There are also data that confirm this: according to the Hootsuite website and reports published by the social networks themselves, over 4.62 billion people worldwide use social networks. In fact, almost 75% of the world's population over the age of 13 uses social networks. When people spend an average of two hours and - 27 minutes a day on social networks, this is not a small amount of use.
Social networks have improved our ability to communicate with those around us in a more convenient way. They have helped develop the economy, freedom of information, the arts and many other areas, but the frequent use of social networks also has negative effects on Our children, and the various studies prove this beyond any doubt.
Our children are suffering
A new survey published in the British Guardian reveals alarming data.
According to the results of the survey, three out of four 12-year-old children do not like their bodies and are ashamed of them.
When you go up the age scale and look at the 18-21 year olds, the situation gets worse: eight out of ten young people experience dissatisfaction with their bodies.
In a study conducted by stem4, a non-profit that works to improve the mental health of young people in the UK, almost half of the young people who participated stated that they experience bullying and online bullying about their physical appearance on a regular basis.
This causes them to engage in excessive physical activity, stop socializing altogether, or harm themselves.
One of the participants in the survey elaborated: "Social media definitely affects me negatively. As young people, we are constantly comparing ourselves to people on the Internet. On sites like Tik Tok, the only people who appear are especially beautiful because of the algorithm, and it makes us feel really bad about ourselves."
It's not surprising, ask Zuckerberg
None of this is new.
Facebook has been with us since the beginning of the 2000s, and even then we found a connection between using the platform and mental distress.
A study recently published in the American Economic Review and done in collaboration between researchers from Tel Aviv University, MIT and the Italian Bocconi University, points to the connection between Facebook use and mental distress.
The study found that in the first year and a half of Facebook's existence, there was a significant increase in the number of students who reported mental distress, and students' access to the platform led to a 7% increase in severe depression and a 20% increase in anxiety disorders.
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so what are we doing?
Social networks are here to stay, their many advantages give them great popularity and diverse uses.
Alongside this, the many studies that have been done on the subject present a worrying picture regarding the negative impact of social networks on the mental health of people in general and young people in particular.
As adults, we must be aware of all the mental dangers inherent in the networks and make sure to bring up the issue in front of the children while conducting an honest and open conversation.
Should we deny the existence of social networks and not let our children use them?
I don't think this is the right solution, and it's not really possible either, after all, we can't turn the wheel back.
But we must not bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is happening around us.
As parents and as educational figures, we must develop a healthy and correct dialogue with our children about social networks.
It is important that we try to explain to them that the amount of likes and shares they receive online is not the whole picture, and should not be used as a measure of their self-worth.
Beyond that, it is important that the children are aware of the marketing aspect of the chains.
They need to understand that an algorithm that identifies them as interested in fitness will continue to flood them with, among other things, muscular people, "motivational" videos and other content that will burden them with a host of expectations of themselves, not all of which they will be able to meet.
This is also true for other areas that children are sensitive about in adolescence: their appearance, their level of popularity, their love life, etc.
When the networks become a kind of trawl net that tries to capture as many potential customers as possible, it is important to teach the children and youth to distinguish between sponsored content and authentic content and to give them the ability to somewhat filter the hidden messages that pass to them through the small screen.
Tsila Dai has a clinical specialization in the treatment of the mentally ill and is a CBT therapist
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