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Social media. Impact on children’s development. Agnieszka Siedler and Łukasz Wojtasik comment

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What dangers can social networking sites bring to children and young people? Agnieszka Siedler, a psychologist of children and adolescents from the Academy of Special Education, said in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 that “social media has a significant impact on our mental health” and this is “a problem that occurs everywhere”. Łukasz Wojtasik, an expert on children’s online safety from the Empowering Children Foundation, pointed out that the online image is very important for young people.

Seattle Public Schools have filed a lawsuit against several of the largest social media companies, accusing them of being responsible for a “mental health crisis among American youth.” At the beginning of January in the District Court USA A nearly 100-page lawsuit was filed in Washington state. According to the Seattle Schools, the companies behind platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat have “cultivated and exploited their addictive nature, which has led to a growing number of children affected by anxiety and depression, as well as a growing number of those who are considering or making self-injury.”

Schools are suing tech giants. For “The Mental Health Crisis Among America’s Youth”

Siedler on “a problem that occurs everywhere”

The impact of social media on children was discussed in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 by Agnieszka Siedler, a child and youth psychologist from the Academy of Special Education and Łukasz Wojtasik, an expert on children’s online safety from the Empowering Children Foundation.

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Agnieszka Siedler said that “this is a problem that occurs everywhere”. She added that “social media has a significant impact on our mental health” and this “is not just for children and young people, it is also for adults.”

– Although depression or anxiety disorders are not problems caused by one factor, (…) social media is one of the factors that can contribute here – she pointed out.


Wojtasik: For young people, online image is very important

Łukasz Wojtasik pointed out that “the goal of Internet service providers, including social media, is to keep the user in front of the screen as long as possible”. This also applies to children and teenagers. In fact, these are mechanisms that are developing and are getting better every year, every day, the question is – for whom are they better – he continued.

At the same time, he pointed out that “young people, practically everyone, use social media”, and for them the image on the web, how they are assessed, “is very important”. – But also for them, the reference point is the people they follow on the Internet – influencers, influencers – he noted.

Wojtasik added that for teenagers, this message from influencers is a kind of pattern, especially in the sphere of appearance.

“It must be unstoppable”

Experts also discussed how to combat the negative impact of social media on the development and mental condition of children and teenagers.

Wojtasik emphasized that “it must be stopped”. – We cannot give up, because the Internet and technology are developing and if we give up, these young people will actually be subjected to social comparisons, which will also affect their mental well-being – he added.

He also appealed to parents to pay attention to the fact that social networking sites are intended for people over 13 years of age. – They are commonly used by younger people (…), and for them it is an even greater threat, because they do not have critical thinking, they operate in these mechanisms completely unconsciously, the more they succumb to them – continued the expert of the Empowering Children Foundation.

– Sometimes, when I visit elementary schools in the second grade, I listen to discussions of girls who talk about what plastic surgery they will get when they grow up. Because for them, the reference point is the influencer who talks about it in her channels – he added.

“The only thing we can do is tame it”

Agnieszka Siedler drew attention to the multitude of different types of platforms, which, in her opinion, means that “we are not able to stop it, the only thing we can do is to tame it”. “We can teach children how to use it in a good way, how to use it to their advantage,” she said.

– Because we also have studies that show that moderate use of social media may even be associated with better intellectual development of the child – said a child and youth psychologist.

Main photo source: tvn24

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