Social Media Warning Signs for BoysGiven the high prevalence of technology in our everyday lives, children are beginning to become exposed to a much wider range of content at much younger ages. It’s inevitable that children and adolescents are going to be exposed to social media, as well as the risks that come along with it. Due to the particular cognitive and behavioral vulnerabilities that adolescence places teenagers at, they are intuitively more prone to the risks that social media poses. There are even social media warning signs to look out for in your teen. Although there have been controversial studies on whether or not teen boys are equally damaged by social media as teen girls, it can be concluded that all are impacted in one way or another. A recent study has found that youth who spend eight hours or more on technology and/or social media are five times more likely to be sad or depressed. Social isolation is a key element of depression, and excessive use of technology can equate to fewer in-person connections with others. Thus, it is important to be aware of the extent of time your child is spending online. Depression is not the only thing to be cognizant of regarding social media risks and “red flags”. Listed below are some of the most common warning signs of social media among teens:
- Age-inappropriate content – apps may feature user-generated content that isn’t appropriate for a specific age, and one may not need to follow users who are posting explicit content in order to be exposed.
- Public default settings – some apps are set to public profiles by default, meaning that their name, pictures, and posts are available to everyone automatically unless otherwise changed.
- Location tracking and sharing – social media apps know the location and allow location identification often tracking within a city block. Posts may also include location.
- Real-time video streaming – live streaming makes it easy to share something unintentionally, given that all moments captured may later be shared. Although certain apps may be used privately, personal information may be inadvertently – and unwittingly – shared without knowing exactly who’s watching.
- “Temporary” pictures and videos – nothing that is shared between devices is truly temporary, so compromising pictures and texts hold a significant amount of risk for teens. All exchanges on technology are stored on servers, and such information may possibly become public and permanent at any given moment.
- Anonymity – anonymous sites give people a sense that their comments are consequence-free. Thus, one may feel safe enough to openly share things that would otherwise likely remain private, and often are attacked rather than receiving the necessary support or help being sought out in that situation.
- Cyberbullying – this can happen on any social media platform but is likely to be more prevalent among the apps that follow an anonymous format (especially those that are used in schools)
Equinox RTC is a highly skilled and empathetic group of professionals dedicated to empowering and guiding young individuals on their path towards healing and growth, fostering resilience, and cultivating lasting positive change. Contact them at (877) 279-8925