Protecting Children from the Negative Effects of Social Media – Eliminate the ‘Like’ Button
By Dana Barrett Social Media moguls profit by driving the escalation of user engagement. When these companies were developing their platforms, they did so with complete disregard for the effects of social media on the budding self- esteem of children and teens. Fast forward 20 years and now 1 in 3 middle school and high school students suffer from anxiety, depression, or loneliness that is a direct product of their ability to garner ‘likes’ on their posts, and their lives. This unhealthy emotional dynamic results in an endless, futile comparison between themselves and others – including celebrities. Our young people are reminded with each Instagram scroll that they simply don’t measure up. And far worse for their self-esteem are the cyberbullies who leave negative, ugly comments, or utilize social media to direct message private demeaning attacks. The pressure of this constant state of skewed social engagement leaves kids trapped in a fog of self-criticism and low self-worth. Hulu just launched The D’Amelio Show which follows the real-life of two young sisters who inadvertently rose to fame by posting innocent dance videos on Tik-Tok. The show pertinently illustrates the pressure that children deal with when subjecting themselves to the judgment of others with every social media post. The youngest of the sisters who started her journey with TikTok at the tender of age of 12, distressingly shares that her anxiety has now grown to the point where she would rather not leave the house anymore. At one point she blurts out, “I’ve had a constant anxiety attack for the past four years, It’s very exhausting.” Imagine how intimidating and scary the social media world is for the everyday child – your child, especially preteens. These once-happy children who should be spending free time either with friends or pursuing hobbies are now constantly scrolling through social media and checking to see if anyone ‘liked’ their post, or far worse if anyone has launched a personal attack against them by leaving a negative comment, or dm’ing something mean. Unfortunately, on the internet most children deal with the world alone, there is no monitor or filter to correct inappropriate behavior and keep children safe and happy. Parents may not even be aware when their child is being bullied or when they need help. At Elevated Life Solutions, we are keenly aware of the heartbreak of cyberbullying and the connection between the climbing rates of depression and anxiety in our young people and their collective dependence on social media. Fortunately, there is a solution. In the words of our founder, Rama Arya - “If you neutralize the cause, there is no effect.” To that end, we have partnered with CyberSmarties a completely safe social media platform that is designed expressly to teach children between the ages of 7-12 positive social engagement. CyberSmarties blocks negative messaging between children with powerful language filters. These filters never allow a harmful message to be sent unless the content is corrected to something positive, and every conversation and interaction is monitored.
By eliminating the ‘like’ button, CyberSmarties has neutralized value judgments for children – towards others and most importantly, about themselves. The result is healthy, happy, children communicating with their friends and sharing ideas in support of one another. This completely locked down platform currently protects and educates over 300,000 students in 3 countries. Elevated Life Solutions is fundraising to bring this amazing tool to as many children as possible, worldwide – for free. Learn more about what we do, and how your gift – can uplift children everywhere.