Hindustantimes wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe

Parenting tips: No brainer content on social media is affecting kids' intelligence quotient. Here's how parents can help

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Jan 04, 2023 02:16 PM IST

It’s not a hidden fact that protecting children from social media has become imperative but it’s as imperative to become a part of their struggle rather than cutting them off. Here are tips for parents that can help them save children's intelligence quotient from no brainer content on social media

Parents in this digital age have an added responsibility to be mindful about the content their child is consuming as a sizable amount of it is ‘No Brainer Content’ that’s proving to have an effect on children’s intelligent quotient. Navigating and maneuvering together could be one of the ways parents can approach it without having to fight their child.

Parenting tips: No brainer content on social media is affecting children's intelligence quotient. Here's how parents can help (Ron Lach)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Seema Rekha, Managing Director at Antarmanh Management Consultancy, suggested, “Parents can have an open dialogue with their child about the usage of social media, understand their motivations and requirements and establish limits along with them. This will make them part of the decision and they’ll be more likely to follow it than if it feels enforced. In addition to a dialogue, planning and inculcating learning activities for them away from the device can help them maintain that balance. It could be more exciting for the child if it’s an inclusive activity, i.e., if everyone participates. This can also be done in collaboration with family time. It’s not a hidden fact that protecting children from social media has become imperative but it’s as imperative to become a part of their struggle rather than cutting them off.”

Dr Suprakash Chaudhury, Professor and HOD, Dept of Psychiatry at Dr D Y Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, said, "Engaging with social media can have both positive and negative effects on people, especially children. Children may be particularly vulnerable to mis/disinformation because their maturity and cognitive capacities are still evolving, including the development of “different psychological and physiological motivations, and with them, different rights and protections.”

A UNICEF survey in 10 countries points to shortcomings in how young people evaluate online information: up to three-quarters of children reported feeling unable to judge the veracity of the information they encounter online and this was especially true among young children. Effects range from sensory overload, to more serious cognitive and emotional consequences such as attention problems, stress and anxiety.

Dr Suprakash Chaudhury said, “Social media affects behaviour negatively by depriving kids of important social cues they would usually learn through in-person communication. This can cause them to be more callous, anxious, and insecure. Heavy social media users perform worse on cognitive tests, especially those that examine their attention and ability to multitask. Compared to moderate to light social media users, heavy users need to exert more effort to remain focused in the face of distraction. Higher frequency of Internet use over 3 years in children is linked with decreased verbal intelligence at follow‐up, along with impeded maturation of both grey and white matter regions.”

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest no screen time for children under two, and a maximum of one hour per day for those aged two to five years, focused on high-quality content (for example, content which is educational).

According to Dr Suprakash Chaudhury, the role of parents include -

1. Talk to them: Children rely more on their family than social media for their news so talk to them about what is going on.

2. Check: Share quick and easy ways to check the reliability of the information. This could be doing a search to double-check who the author is and how credible they are, seeing if the information is available on reputable sites and using good fact-checking websites to get more information.

3. Get involved: Digital literacy is about participation. Teach children to be honest, vigilant and creative digital citizens.

4. Questioning: Explore one type of media at a time, identify what is happening, and encourage your child to ask questions about what they are seeing or hearing.

5. Analyse: By helping kids learn how to analyze information, distinguish fact from opinion, and draw evidence-based conclusions that inform their actions.

6. Monitoring: Need to filter clicks and false news by blocking certain sites with the filter function.

7. Exposure: It's extremely important to expose children to different types of information. It is equally important to have them access the right information in digital and traditional formats. Schools, libraries and books can be of great help with this.

8. Fact check: Older children can be taught to compare multiple sources to determine if the information corresponds to all sources, to cross reference. You can teach your child to use reliable sources that have been reviewed before publication.

Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now