Schools should be at the forefront of preparing children to interact with social media. Schools have a mandate to prepare children for the emotional burden social media imposes on them.
Ann Longfield has been worried that pupils at the tender age of 12 usually seek out affirmations through comments and likes in social media. Anne conducted a study where she found that children at the age of between 8 and 12 were burdened with the impact of social media validation.
The report that looked at the social media effects on these kids claimed that most of the children were over-reliant on the “comments” and “likes” that they received on social media. It has been noted that as children move into secondary school, most of them get to a situation referred to as a “cliff-edge” when they put social media as their filter to social acceptance.
The report which was undertaken on 32 children aged 12 years, had the following comments from the children who were in 8 focus groups:
Some said that they had to make sure that they edited their photos for them to look nice before posting to social media.
Some said that if they get 150 likes, it would be cool and it meant that they were liked.
The report indicated to Ms. Longfield that parents and schools should prepare the emotional aspect of children because of the risk social media poses to them, especially when they are moving schools and they are meeting new students.
Ms. Longfiend noticed that when children got to secondary school, the desire to be liked on social media shoots up, as the children seek more validation through likes, hence the need to be online throughout. In case a child goes offline, they tend to feel frustrated and disconnected to the world.
Most social media platforms have an entry limit of 13 years, but the interesting thing the report indicated is that children who are between 10 and 12 years old already have accounts. Even though social media has disastrous effects on kids, it has also provided some benefits to the children,
Ms. Anne said that digital literacy lessons and lessons based on resilience to online presence should be mandatory for children who are in their sixth and seventh year so that they learn about emotional education towards social media. Parents are also expected to play a role in helping their kids navigate through the emotional turmoil that social media presents to their children.