The world today absorbs digital media content at an excessively rapid rate. From a 10-minute metro commute to sitting hours on our couch, 'scrolling' has become our new hobby. Excessive use of social media and mobile gadgets can cause psychological and physical distress, contributing to problems like eyestrain and diminished attention spans; these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Research suggests that anxiety, stress, depression, body image issues, and loneliness are becoming common among the younger age groups that indulge in heavy social media usage. Various education conferences and events have shed light on this matter while suggesting ways to minimize the toll that digital media has taken on us.
How Digital Media The Younger Generation
From Generation Alpha to Gen Z, the digital generation includes individuals that have grown to become highly dependent on the internet for daily living. The internet, social media, and the utility of digital gadgets are a rather convenient blessing. Still, it comes with its share of downsides, the adversities of which are gradually affecting the youth today. The Education 2.0 Conference discusses the effects of digital media on mental health while elucidating its direct impacts on well-being. These include-
Stress And Anxiety
The use of social media is linked with mood disorders and is a common precursor of stress, especially among teenagers who constantly struggle with self-image and the fear of being judged. Recent studies have observed a considerable rise in depression and suicidal ideation among teenagers in recent years, particularly among those who spend many hours per day using screens. Numerous specialists have also noted alterations in sleeping patterns, appetite, and an increased association with eating disorders.
Decreased Well-being And Depression
Beyond its advantages, social media makes people compare their status with others, promotes unhealthy beauty standards and jealousy, and leads to more sadness than well-being as one may find it difficult to 'keep up.' The negative implications can also lead to depression and decreased self-confidence in youth.
Digital Addiction And Isolation
Digital addiction can be described as the compulsive use of digital platforms, technologies, and equipment, such as the internet, video games, online platforms, mobile devices, and social networking sites. Excessive usage of such technologies has been found to cause social isolation among teens. Some conferences, among the top education events in 2023, emphasize the need to find strategies to cut back on social media use, such as putting time restrictions on social apps, which may help some people feel less alone.
How Can We Help Children Preserve Their Mental Health?
Given such an adverse impact, today's digital generation has become a significant concern for users' mental health, and ways to tackle the crisis must be devised. The Education 2.0 conference suggests educators to follow practices like –
- Promoting an individualized approach to reducing digital media usage,
- Actively taking control of one's exposure to digital media by reinforcement methods,
- Helping individuals cut down on screen time by replacing it with an outdoor activity,
- Being mindful in their own use of technology, and setting good examples,
- Setting healthy social media expectations, and
- Inculcating values of self-esteem and growth beyond the virtual world.
These are some ways to effectively deal with the impact of digital media on one’s mental health. By sharing ways to establish a more wholesome lifestyle, the top education events in 2023, such as the Education 2.0 Conference, critically study the issue and give insightful solutions to protect the generation from large-scale mental health crises.