Some of the most toxic social media platforms for kids to use include Tiktok and YouTube due to issues like bullying and the likelihood that kids are viewing inappropriate content.
Raise your hand if your tween or teen is active on toxic social media sites. No one? Great. Now, raise your hand if your kid is on YouTube, TikTok, or Roblox. Oh, a sea of hands. According to studies, these platforms are toxic to kids’ mental health, and they should be kept off them.
Unfortunately, these platforms have a high percentage of predominantly people under 18. According to PC Mag, a new study has ranked the most toxic social media and video game platforms. And unsurprisingly, the most popular ones have a community of children as fans. The study polled both parents and kids, and the responses are fascinating.
The top issues that kids reported seeing on toxic social media and video game sites are people being rude, seeing scary images, and seeing scary videos. Parents, however, believe that the biggest issues are bullying, grooming, and offensive images and videos.
Although there is a big discrepancy between the two lists, it’s important to remember that kids are just that, kids. They may not realize that images that they are seeing that they report as “scary” may be some kind of grooming. Or that images they see actually are bullying. Although many online games teach some life skills and are not hurting kids, most aren’t that great for them, either.
The average time a 14-year-old spends online is only 45 minutes a day. That is relatively short when you think about how much time is in a day. And in that relatively short period, the amount of toxic social media they are exposed to is numerous. We are not sure just how harmful online games and social media are to children’s growing brains.
Interestingly, more children in the UK report having learned about online safety in school than U.S. children. As more places become away of how harmful toxic social media is, hopefully, public schools will add more curricula. However, the chances of this happening or not high as most time is spent on core topics like Mathematics and English. Art and music must battle to be involved in a child’s school day.
Topics like internet safety largely land on parents to teach. However, most parents may need to learn what toxic social media or game sites their children use. The recent Online Safety Act for Kids has even come under fire for not being safe. Allegedly it collects information and private data that should not be used. If the online safety act isn’t even safe, what is? You cannot shelter your child from every negative image or word out there. However, you can give them the tools to decipher what is real and what is not.
That said, games that live in the Metaverse and exist in virtual reality seem pretty real. So, it’s important not to let kids use certain types of gaming until they are ready for it. Parents need to know what their kids are doing online and when social media does become toxic, they need to be able to spot it.
Toxic social media sites and games are not going away. They are only getting more popular.