Social media addiction is a mental health problem that threatens children and adolescents and requires treatment

Raising the level of parental control and educational systems for the safe use of electronic platforms

– Activities to strengthen children’s self-control through stories, games and family meetings

– Studies that confirm the connection between the use of platforms and depression, anxiety, mania and narcissism

Children’s exposure to a huge amount of information deprives them of emotional and social intelligence skills

Abuse of social media is a serious danger to children and has become a concern of many parents, which is one of the most discussed issues in society due to its negative effects and consequences, and many parents feel challenged and difficult to legalize children’s use of technology and social media. In light of the development of the modern technical world and the need for daily use for some in the educational and social aspect, digital development and technological progress have opened a wider space for the use of digital devices, especially after the Covid pandemic, which has contributed to the introduction of social media technologies and programs deep into lives children, and Education and study programs and platforms.

Among these negative effects resulting from abuse, the child is aware of the health and psychological effects that can result from the frequent use of these means, lack of time regulation, weak parental control and what parents must understand in terms of technical skills in optimal use to increase awareness, build opinion and building skills and abilities for your children and reducing the risks of social media.

“Oman” examined this phenomenon to learn how to legalize this negative use. Khalifa bin Muslim Al-Esayi, CEO of the Expertise Foundation for Business Empowerment, emphasized the importance of providing a family strategy of a technical system with the development of parental control systems to reduce the risks of social media.

He said: Families must strengthen their role in rationalizing the use of social media and setting up a technical system for the family with practical knowledge of how family members deal with modern technologies and their areas of use, whether in learning, entertainment, culture and commerce, indicating that one one of the most important values ​​that parents must be familiar with is technical values. Matters and generations that educators pass on to children, the first value is safety and the preservation of the confidentiality of personal data and private data. , the second is the value of the need and reasons that require the use of the method, which is a tool and not the goal of just spending time, and the value of the person’s self-monitoring and the way he uses techniques and means and the hours he spends and the benefit, and the value of investing in exploiting the means to obtain personal, family or social returns, and the value of communication with others, parents and experts in various scientific, sports, social and other fields.

Al-Esayi touched on the advantages of means of communication in the sense that they shorten distances, reduce effort, speed up access, facilitate access to information and increase educational opportunities. A charter must be drawn up that will deal with means in person hours spent with means of social communication.

Khalifa Al-Esayi noted that there are some negatives that arise from dealing with means of communication, primarily addiction to use, the appearance of some wrong behaviors, and mental and physical illnesses.

Al-Esayi urged parents to choose the appropriate time and age to buy electronic devices for their children, and not to buy them at their own request or by comparing with other children in the family.

Parents should also learn the skills of choosing the appropriate device and the skills of entering communication accounts, communicating with personalities, monitoring children and observing positive and negative indicators that may appear in children in the case of using technologies, so that they do not fall victim to blackmail or become infected, not God willing.

Effects on health

dr. social media sites, including spreading destructive ideas, fraud, forgery, spreading rumors and lies, violating private and public rights and impersonating Personality, wasting time, causing marital problems, inciting others, breaking up families, lack of supervision and lack of sense of responsibility.

The doctor referred to some recent studies that confirm that the use of social media platforms is closely related to depression and anxiety, as the risks are about three times higher than those contributing to exposure to depression and anxiety among people who use social networking sites the most.

She said: “A study published in 2018 proved that communication tools not only cause accidents, but also lead to the development of mental health problems such as anxiety or depression when used excessively or without caution, and in a study published in 2019 involving about 10,000 children in England.” Researchers have found that social media can harm girls’ mental health by increasing their vulnerability to bullying and reducing their sleep and exercise.

And the doctor added: Researchers from the Danish Institute for Happiness Research found that many people suffer from “Facebook envy” and that those who took a week off from it felt satisfied with their lives, 55% less stressed and talked more with family and friends, as the study included more than 700 college students reported that depressive symptoms such as low mood, low self-esteem and hopelessness were related to the nature and type of online interaction, and researchers noted higher levels of depressive symptoms among those who had more negative online interactions.

The doctor stated that addiction to social networks is the user’s weak resistance to social networks in the sense that they cannot leave or psychologically reject them, and studies confirm that Facebook addiction has the same effect on the brain as a dose of cocaine. , and there is a type of Internet addiction itself, which is a medically classified disorder in Nowadays, social media addiction is a mental health problem that “may” require treatment, and excessive use is associated with problems in relationships with people, decline in academic performance , lack of engagement in groups and activities outside the Internet and poor grades in school.

The doctor stated that there is another scientific study on the obsession with addiction to social networks and its connection with pathological features in children. Through the study, it was determined that children who used social networks for two years show signs of depressive-anxiety disorder, low-energy depression, boredom, withdrawal and a feeling of constant resentment. In their interactions on social networks, children are exposed to an amount of information – which is often not useful – which limits their mental abilities and poor memory, in addition to depriving them of the skills of emotional intelligence and social intelligence.

Anxiety and self-obsession

As for feelings of anxiety, the doctor cited a study published in the Journal of Computer and Human Behavior that found people who said they used seven or more social media platforms were more than three times more likely to experience high levels of anxiety, compared to people using one platform. Either two social media platforms or they don’t use them at all, and the reasons behind this are the methods of intimidation or bullying to which some are exposed, the formation of a distorted vision of the lives of others, the feeling that the time spent on social networks is wasted time.

Regarding mental health issues, one of the results of the study indicates that children who spend more than three hours a day on social networks are more likely to have poor mental health, as they are immersed in a virtual world that delays their emotional and social development .

She emphasized that the effects of using social media are self-obsession and narcissism, where self-obsession and endless posting of personal updates and photos on social media increases narcissism in young people, and their mood is largely dependent on how much their photos are appreciated on social media and they fear anxiety when they don’t get the attention they expect, and having their own pages makes kids seem more self-centered and self-obsessed.

Another effect is a weakening of the immune system, since more time on the Internet means a greater susceptibility to diseases, and the reason is the stress on the immune system due to periods when a person is not connected to the Internet and alternating periods of connection and disconnection make cortisol levels different, and cortisol is a hormone that helps the body to protect against infections.

Ghania Al-Ghafria has developed solutions to reduce negativity, presented in research on the impact of social networking sites on children and educating them about the pros and cons of it, and setting limits on what sites can be on and for how long, and encouraging children to engage in communicating more realistically with people, instead of communicating online, teaching the importance of spending more time in real friendships and activities, encouraging other interests or passions they may have, be it hobbies, sports, community service or anything else not virtual, teaching them how use social media platforms constructively to enhance their learning and monitor their online activities so you can teach them how to protect themselves from online fraud.


On the other hand, Wadha bint Al-Murr Al-Kalbaniyah, a social worker, highlighted the positive effects of social media platforms, which are reflected in the acquisition of technical skills to keep up with technological development, and the opportunity to express ideas and feelings.

On the other hand, she said: On the other hand, the negative impact of the use of social networks on children is reflected in the fluctuation of family relationships, the impact on the child’s ability to communicate with other people, loss of time, exposure to inappropriate materials, social isolation, verbal violence, bullying, harassment , extortion and cybercrime.

Al-Kalbaniyah believed that the education of parents has a role in the safe use of social media platforms by adopting the principle of dialogue as the first step followed by non-criticism, after which educational moments are exploited and love is expressed in several forms, the most important. of which are the provision of services, gifts, physical expression and verbal affirmation. It is also possible to focus on the positive aspect.

Regarding the promotion of children’s self-censorship in the use of social media, Mona bint Khalfan Al-Ghafriya, a social worker, said: Self-censorship allows a child to distinguish between good and bad, useful and harmful, and contributes to the formation of the concept of self-responsibility in him by acting as a deterrent to the child in front of what he sees and hears through various social media.

Looking at some methods of strengthening children’s self-control by setting controls and rules within the family, getting children used to organizing time and getting children used to taking responsibility, strengthening self-confidence skills, recognizing right and wrong, acceptable and rejected, and good roles. models, and promoting and praising positive behavior.

Al-Ghafria mentioned: There are activities that contribute to the strengthening of self-censorship in the hearts of children by using stories, either by reading from a book or video, and discussing with them the content and games, and it is desirable that they are made by the educator and the son from simple materials available at house, and their participation in meetings and family gatherings (they can also be assigned some self-confidence-boosting jobs, e.g. serving coffee to guests and talking to them, it is also possible to ask the child to read a story or recite poetry in front of his relatives and brothers in order to was encouraged and developed the skills and abilities that need to be developed.

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