Recently, we have heard more and more about situations where teenagers put themselves in danger for no apparent reason, and it is increasingly said that the reason lies in the spread of new deadly games and challenges through the social network TikTok.
What motivates children to participate in such activities?
How to recognize the child’s motives in time and whether parents should limit the use of social networks?
Let’s understand this.
Formation of social contacts and authority
At the age of 11 to 18, due to puberty, it is more important for us than ever to show ourselves and our capabilities to peers. Social networks come to the rescue by constantly measuring the number of views, followers, comments or likes. In the pursuit of a positive reputation and authority, teenagers are ready to follow trends, participate in flash mobs and challenges. Very often it happens in the form of a game, and often, just playing, they go very far, causing serious damage to health.
Of course, the coronavirus has increased the amount of time we spend on social media, but for today’s teens it is a familiar part of communication, and the game form weakens critical thinking and analysis of the information used.
And if someone offers to take part in the challenge, the children do not evaluate such an offer and decide to copy their “idols”.
It is also a way to test yourself and prove to others that they are not weak.
When should parents start to worry?
For adults, any change is part of the norm, but for children – a reason to be wary.
Pay attention to the following indicators in the child’s behavior:
- Isolation or, conversely, excessive openness;
- A sharp decrease or increase in activity;
- Mood swings;
- Avoidance of contacts within the family;
- Deterioration or improvement of appetite, sudden weight gain or loss.
Remember that any bright changes should be recorded and, if necessary, consult a psychologist or psychotherapist.
Ban on the social network – the best solution?
If social networks can cause such damage, then a ban on their use may seem a logical solution.
In the short term, such measures can work, but in the long run – can negatively affect the socialization of the child and the feeling of comfort in society.
It is not necessary to violate personal boundaries, but to prevent the emergence of pseudo-idols, leaders and copying their actions, it is important to monitor the child’s behavior, as well as:
- Tell what is information hygiene, how to use, evaluate information, weed out biased or false facts;
- Offer the child to take special courses on the development of critical thinking;
- Show the child his willingness to be around, listen, support on a regular basis, not episodes.
If the child is not ready to open up to you, but you see that something is wrong – act.