It is Safer internet day on February the 7 th and with this in mind we at TMH thought it would be a good excuse to think about the effect of the internet and technology on our mental health. The increasing use of the internet and digital devices by children has brought about a range of negative effects on their mental health. One of the most significant concerns is the impact of social media on children’s self-esteem and body image. Research has shown that children who spend a lot of time on social media are more likely to experience feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth, as they compare themselves to the curated and often idealized images of others that they see online.
Another negative effect of internet and digital device use on child mental health is the potential for cyberbullying. Children who are bullied online may experience a range of negative emotional and psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. In severe cases, cyberbullying can even lead to self-harm or suicide.
Excessive use of the internet and digital devices can also disrupt sleep patterns, which can have a detrimental impact on a child’s overall well-being. Children who spend a lot of time on screens before bedtime may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, which can lead to fatigue and irritability.
Additionally, excessive use of internet and digital devices can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can increase the risk of obesity and related health problems. Children who spend a lot of time in front of screens may be less likely to engage in physical activity, which can lead to weight gain and poor physical health.
While the internet and digital devices have many benefits and can be used for educational and entertainment purposes, it is important for parents and caregivers to set limits on the amount of time children spend online and to monitor their online activities. Encouraging children to engage in other activities, such as sports, hobbies, and social interactions, can help mitigate the negative effects of internet and digital device use on child mental health.