We are in a generation of digitization where people, young or old, are exposed to the web, social media, games, and a library of information. While the older generation is happy with this progress, they are, at the same time, concerned about the welfare of children overexposed to digitization. Mental and physical health is at risk. However, with proper parental guidance, digitization can be good for the growing child.
Social media can establish a perception of extreme fixation on “likes” and idealized posts that do not reflect reality. The sharing culture contributes to an artificial form of intimacy. Private details of events in the lives of people who are strangers to each other. The feeling of alienation and loneliness can sometimes be great. Social media reinforces an image that everyone else is happy, pretty, successful, and popular. It can undoubtedly lose your mental health.
With many forms of internet subscription plans open to various users (mobilabonnement), young people has gained unlimited access to the web and social media. This can be very alarming and should be addressed by those in charge of providing wifi.
Proper Use of Social Media
But a smartphone ban doesn’t solve that. Social media will continue to exist. And the problem is not necessarily in social media, but rather in how people use social media. Yes, social activists can always blame and blacken digital tools but the issue primarily lives in every social media user.
Prohibition is rarely a successful way to fix human problems. Instead of fearing the new technology, Educating children to live a safe, responsible and healthy lives (with and without smartphones) is the key to solving arising social media issues.
Education can be an important channel for learning digital skills and how to live a good life in a new age. But schools and teachers cannot do this alone. An important part of digital education starts within the four walls of the home.
Proper Education Starts In The Home
Can the family have fun without smartphones? Can parents teach their children that meaning and content in life do not lie in how many “likes” one collects? Can parents and children jointly agree that push notifications can usually wait? These questions, I think, are just as important as classroom teaching on the web.
Every single family should have a healthy discussion about smartphones. Each family should set a framework for mobile use. For some families, an age limit on the use of smartphones can certainly work well. Other families have other needs. The framework for mobile use is something that a family can rationally decide on their own without overpowering politicians.
Smartphones have negative sides. But they are also wonderful resources. It’s easy to paint a picture of smartphones throwing children and adolescents into an endless depth of misery and sadness. But I think we should rather put up a nuanced discussion between children and parents than go backwards into the future and confine mobile phones.