How Corona Is Affecting Children’s Media Use

Digital lessons, video chat with friends, and playing FIFA instead of soccer training  Since the start of the Corona outbreak, children and teenagers have spent substantially more time in front of devices. Many parents ask whether it is permissible to use media under these situations. 

Researchers found that media use in everyday life has increased among 12- to 19-year-olds. According to their own statements, young people spend far more time than ever before, watching YouTube videos (82%), listening to music (78%), streaming services (71%), and watching TV (54% ). This can also be seen in the use times: According to the 2020 study, young people spent approximately 260 minutes online per day from Monday to Friday. This represents a one-hour improvement from the previous year. About 60% of the time is spent on entertainment and games. In comparison, approximately 40% of the time is spent interacting and looking for information.

For families, the changed everyday life with expanded online learning is an obstacle that requires a reconsideration of screen time. The rules must be revised to reflect the new digital way of life . What do you like to cherish in your daily family life? In the following parts, researchers have advice and information about how to use the media in Corona periods.

Ways to reduce children’s use of digital devices

  • A distinction must be made between leisure time and study or working hours .
  •  It is generally advisable to differentiate between media use and what children and young people actually do with media.
  • Regulate media consumption and stay in conversation.
  • Parents should especially pay attention to screen-free times and exercise breaks
  • Children and young people have the right to play and free time , to participate in cultural and artistic life and to have access to the media.
  • It is important to accompany children in using the media , but the age and level of development of the child must always be taken into account.
  • Children and young people must orientate themselves in their behavior to role models in their environment.
  • Simple basic rules, such as a smartphone ban at family meals, should of course also remain in place during the Corona crisis.

Finding common rules

Clear agreements strengthen the parent-child relationship and mutual trust: To avoid arguments or discussions about smartphone, computer, television, or internet use in families, a media use agreement drawn up jointly and early on can help. If you have problems regarding your devices, contact Tekhattan – IT help for New Yorkers.

In addition to clear rules, media vouchers can help. They are a great way to illustrate time , especially for younger children . Media vouchers also help families to keep time agreements and help children to organize the “allowed” time independently. In this way, children gradually take on more responsibility for media use .

Not every family is comfortable with this kind of formal written policy. Of course, these agreements can also be made verbally. Agreed rules , regardless of whether they are in writing or orally, should always be checked for their suitability and adjusted if necessary .

The Negative side of the Media on Children

A British study has shown what many parents have already suspected: Social media shrinks self-esteem in children and adolescents and creates dissatisfaction and other negative emotions. This is mainly due to the fact that an idealized reality is reproduced, which is not yet tangible for children. It is therefore all the more necessary to promote children’s media literacy.

Facebook and Co. make children sad

Often people present themselves from their best side: be it bloggers with their perfect apartments, stars with perfect bodies or children with the perfect lifestyle. Social media and co. Rely on perfection. Unfortunately, younger children in particular do not understand that there is often a lot of image processing and fake behind these pictures.

A reality forms for the children that is perfect through and through – but unfortunately completely surreal. And they begin to strive for that perfection. They wonder why they don’t have such a beautiful body, are dissatisfied with their life, their grades, their environment. In addition, children and adolescents with Fake News and also Cyberbullying .

Social media influence all areas of life

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have shown in a long-term study that the use of social media can negatively affect all areas of life of young people. So anyone who uses Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Co. a lot and often is automatically more unhappy.

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The scientists asked children about their overall satisfaction. The results: Children who had access to the Internet were not as satisfied with their lives as children who grew up completely without the Internet. 4,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 were surveyed.

But this dissatisfaction does not have to be. Media literate parents can educate their children and let them know that the media image is often faked. It is their job to convey to the children that they must not believe everything they see in the media.

Idealized worlds wherever you look

Images on blogs are similar to images from the latest Ikea catalog. Difficult situations are always mastered with a happy ending and create a warm feeling in the stomach area. How much of it is really true, what is fake? Even as an adult, You often find it difficult to differentiate who I can still believe and who cannot. We realize that success depends above all on how “perfectly” life is presented. Perfect images, perfect expression, perfect emotions.

We have to make it clear to ourselves and our children that we are striving for a life that very few actually have (or even nobody). We need to strengthen their self-esteem, teach them which sources they can trust and make sure that they are satisfied with themselves for who they are.