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In recent years, using social media has become an essential part of American life. In addition to using social media at work, people also spend plenty of leisure time using it, such as looking through the news, contacting friends, or posting a picture. According to a report, in July 2012, Americans made a hole in social networking, as they spent a total of 121.1 billion minutes using it. Specifically, Americans spent 74.0 billion minutes on social media at home, 40.8 billion minutes via apps, and 5.7 billion minutes via the mobile web browser. Obviously, social media use is the most time-consuming over all because it occupies more than 60 percent of the whole time spent online. There is no gainsaying that social media provides multiple benefits for our life, as it has made our life more convenient, such as making the relationships with family and friends closer, opening the eyes to new and different perspectives and information, and providing a platform to express emotions. However, it is a double-edged sword because millions of people have or will become addicted to the virtual world if they spend excessive amounts of time on social media.
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According to this information, people should control the time that they spend on social media in order to protect themselves from potential hazards of overuse. Compared with adults, most children have even less self-control. It means that children Therefore, my research is going to focus on why parents should limit the time of using social media for their children. In other words, what are the benefits of reducing screen time, and how harmful is it for children use social media too much? . If children have the opportunity to relax during leisure time, what are effective strategy to limit children’s screen time for their parents?
Many parents may be wondering if they should supervise kids’ screen time. A recent study, which was published by Douglas Gentile, who is a psychology professor at Iowa State University, showed the influence of using social media between adults and children. The object of study was 1323 children were in Iowa and Minnesota at third, fourth, and fifth level, and they had studied there for one semester to seven months. The research required that parents supervise their kids’ screen time during leisure time. For example, parents imposed a restriction on time of using mobile phones, televisions, or computers. Sometimes, regulators included that children were not allowed to discuss the thesis of what they watched or something related to social media. In the short term, it was difficult for parents to find the advantages supervising kids’ screen time , but it would provide multiple benefits in the long term. This situation was called by Douglas Gentile “ripple effect”. Douglas Gentile said that after parents’ monitoring, children slept more time, got better grades, and reduced their body mass index (Gentile 1). The study informed that controlling screen time could help children improve living quality.
While reduced time on social media improved quality of life for many children, how does social media use influence sleep quality? I found a Spanish study of about 1000 children who were between 2 and 6 years old to research the relationship between television viewing and sleep duration. After analyzing the kids’ television viewing to be less than 1.5 hours at the beginning of the study to increase to at least 1.5 hours each day, two or more years later, the researcher claimed that increased television viewing led children’s sleep duration to become shorter. (2) Another study covered 2000 children who were 8 to 12 years old, and it indicated that watching the video or playing computer games more than 3 hours would make their sleep duration insufficient. (3) According to research, with social media use increased, our sleep quality will decrease. Amit Shai Green noted that electronic devices like computer, mobile phone, and television, sent out the blue light, and it would destroy the body’s clock. The evidence showed that blue light made people become more vigilant at night after absorbing it for a long time. (4) It meant that if people spend multiple hours using electronic devices before they sleep, many would be high strung, which caused them to be unable to fall asleep quickly. Therefore, it is clear that overuse of social media also negatively affects the quality of sleep.
Since overuse of social media negatively affects the quality of life and the quality of sleep, it should be no wonder that social media gives rise to obesity as well. A national survey showed that Children would spend six and a half hours using social media each day in the United States, and it was more than any outdoor activities. (5) It meant that kids spend most leisure time in social media use at home, which made them have less opportunity to consume energy, so it led them easy to be obesity. Another research analyzed the 1000 children who were 10 to 12 years in the Netherlands, and it claimed that children ate more snacks with screen time increased. Especially, when they are watching the television programmes that they are interested, they would subconscious eat more. (9) Due to watch advisement are always changes children’s food preferences,such as eating dessert or fried to instead of the vegetables and fruits, advisement is one of the most direct influences between the risk of obesity and social media use since. A study indicated that American children would watch about 40000 advertisements on television, and it would influence their preference. Since social media’s advertising strategy, children are the majority of consumers, which brought about advertisements would appeal to kids’ attentions more valid. After watching food advertisements, 63 percent of Latino hoped to get toys on the television, and more than 55 percent kids asked their parents to buy snacks and drinks in previous weeks. In past years, the number of toys bought decreased, and children tended to consume food. (6) As we know, if children form a habit of buy advised food, it caused junk food excessive intake to make them be obesity.
In addition to physical influence, using too much social media also will impact our mentality. A Thai study of infants between 6 to18 months indicated that they became more emotional and aggressive with the time of watching TV increase, and the reason was television programs sometimes were full of violence, bloodiness, and pornographic. (7) It represented that they would argue or fight more frequently than peers, and it would have negative influences on their world view. Another research was 8000 teenagers who were 10 to 16 years old in Australian. It showed when using social media exceeded the prescriptive time, and the risk of depression would increase. With age increase, that situation became more noteworthy. (8) I thought that teenagers were addicted to social media, and it made them reduce their connection with reality. Therefore, they would stay away from people, so the risk of depression increased.
I expected to figure out problems why parents should ride herd on children social media use, and the evidence indicated that when children spend less time on social media, they will absorb less blue light. Therefore, their sleep duration increased with the time of social media use decreased. At the same time, spending excessive time on social media use would make children have less choice to do outdoor activities, and it causes energy expenditure reduces. Due to advisement could change kids’ food performance, advised food becomes more attractive with advertisers changed their strategy that focus on children, which leads kids buy too many snacks. Therefore, kids’ screen time should be supervised because it could reduce the risk of obesity. Obviously, copious television programs were always full of violence, bloodiness, and pornographic, and it would easy to cause mental illness when they were an infant. Sometimes, being addicted on social media made children get depression. All in all, being addicted to social media likes taking drugs since it causes negative influence in physical and mental. Nevertheless, if children could use social media in the guideline, it would help them grow in an abundant environment.
1. Douglas Gentile. Public Policy and the Effects of Media Violence on Children. 2007
2. Marinelli, M, Sunyer, J, Alvarez‐Pedrerol, M et al. Hours of television viewing and sleep duration in children: A multicenter birth cohort study. JAMA Pediatr. 2014; 168: 458– 64.
3. Falbe, J, Davison, KK, Franckle, RL et al. Sleep duration, restfulness, and screens in the sleep environment. Pediatrics 2015; 135: e367– 75
4. A. Green et al. Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities. Chronobiology International. Vol. 34, May 26, 2017, p. 855. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1324878.
5. Roberts DFoehr URideout V Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds Menlo Park, Calif The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation2005; Available athttp://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Executive-Summary-Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds.pdf
6. Borzekowski DLPoussaint AF Latino American Preschoolers and the Media Philadelphia, Pa Annenberg Public Policy Center1998; Annenberg Public Policy Center Report Series 24
7. Watt, E, Fitzpatrick, C, Derevensky, JL, Pagani, LS. Too much television? Prospective associations between early childhood televiewing and later self‐reports of victimization by sixth grade classmates. J. Dev. Behav. Pediatr. 2015; 36: 426– 33.
8. Kremer, P, Elshaug, C, Leslie, E, Toumbourou, JW, Patton, GC, Williams, J. Physical activity, leisure‐time screen use and depression among children and young adolescents. J. Sci. Med. Sport 2014; 17: 183– 7.
9. Braude, L, Stevenson, RJ. Watching television while eating increases energy intake. Examining the mechanisms in female participants. Appetite 2014; 76: 9– 16.
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