At What Age Should We Start Engaging With Social Media?

 

Following on from the previous post, Olly and I thought it would be good to discuss at what age is it appropriate to engage with social media.

Oliver Campey writes his thoughts below.

A study back in 2014 conducted by Dr Richard Woolfsen and knowthenet.com highlighted that more than half of children had used social media by the age of 10. The report also found that 43% of these children had messaged strangers or engaged with negative comments by the age of 12.

The cynic amongst us may question the validity of the report or condemn certain elements in terms of how easy they are to measure. However, the fact does remain that children are engaging with social media at an increasingly younger age and it needs to be investigated as to whether this is safe.

Firstly, one the foundations of adopting any form of new technology or service is having an education on how best to use it. It’s a fact that when looking into the syllabus for younger age groups children are not educated by this stage on the positive and negative effects of social media. Personally, I think this needs to change. I wouldn’t say there’s an issue with the age that children are interacting with social media because as a generation we are adapting to new technologies at an earlier age than ever before. However, what does need addressing is providing children with an education from a young age so that they have a greater understanding of how to appropriately engage with social media.

Secondly, there needs to be further research into the negative effects of dopamine on the human brain and the formation of an addiction to likes and positive engagement across social platforms. As discussed in the previous post dopamine can be triggered by things such as gambling, alcohol, and smoking all of which are regulated and carry age restrictions of 18 or above. As highlighted by AdWeek, social media channels generally enforce an age restriction of 13+ and so there could be an argument to bring it more in line with the age restrictions for smoking, gambling, and alcohol.

Thirdly, social media is having a hugely negative impact on the younger generations ability to socialise and form meaningful relationships with their friends. Only yesterday was I sat in a cafe and I witnessed a group of friends all sat on their phones and not conversing with one another. To make things worse, when one of the group did spark up some form of a conversation, the others responded with a nod of the head or a mumbled grunt and continued flicking through their phones.

What kind of message does that send out to the person who initiated the conversation? It’s essentially saying, you’re not interesting enough for me to listen. I agree with Nat that we need to ensure that from a young age people are connected and have the ability to consume information whenever they need it. It’s common knowledge that teenagers are spending more time on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo to learn new skills and acquire new information.

I just think their needs to be a greater level of education on the safe and effective use of social media across the school system and for parents. A report by the NSPCC found that “More than half of parents are unaware of the age limit on Social Media”, this means they aren’t making well-informed decisions when allowing their children to roam free across social channels. If more work is done to provide children with a better education, it will eradicate so-called ‘social bad habits’ and allow us to become better communicators both professionally and personally.

Check out Nat’s vlog below for a greater level of insight into this topic!

Trends and social stigmas

We’re living in a life full of trends and what I like to call “the new age of peer pressure.” We’re now more so than ever trying to fit in with our social crowd and doing things that we would have never thought about doing five, ten or even fifteen years ago.

Let’s look at tattoos, gluten free or even veganism and try and understand how and why these have become social trends. Yes, people are educating themselves and become more “open” about such things but people are also seeking a way to become a part of a social setting that where they can “fit in.” With the rise of social and digital media, information is much easier to grasp that in the 90s and we’re being taught or some may say “brainwashed” into following trends unconsciously.

But maybe there’s a point to that…

Non-verbal communication has taken over

We do not need to communicate verbally anymore. We are living in an age of technology innovations where the need to interact with someone with speech has disappeared. With messaging based apps on the rise and the comfort of expressing your mind over a screen rather than face to face takes over, verbal communication will continue to dwindle.

The future will host a world of virtual reality and augmented reality taking non-verbal communication that much further.

Do you give yourself a social media ranking?

Many young people tend to portray their lifestyle on social media differently to how their life really is.

There is a trend where we are seeing ourselves living life in which we aim to raise our social media ‘ranking’ and searching approval from our digital companions through our activity on social media.

We are now glittering our lives with filters and rose tinted lenses while at the same time making our peers feel bad about their own lives. And we are aware of what we are doing!

“Social Media is like cocaine – It can give us an immense high but it can also make us and others around us crash!” – Dominic McGregor, CEO Social Chain.

Why so social? – Documentary coming soon.

Are video games a reality?

Video games have become a way of life for many people; young and old. They become so engrossed into digital entertainment that it has turned into a form of reality that is becoming increasingly difficult to step away from.

With the advancement in video game play and the tools that have allowed video gaming to become more ‘realistic’, we are now living in an age that can literally put us into games.

Take VR for example, a tool that allows people to live within a simulation or an event, or a game. This is the beginning of a world where we will no longer rely on the control pad to control our sword-wielding character but yet we will soon be able to use actions and thoughts to defeat the flame throwing nemesis that confronts us.

We live in a time where Egaming has blown up on a massive scale with a large influx of money that has been pumped into the industry. This has attracted a wave of gamers with a hunger to ‘make it big’, knowing that they have potential for fame and riches. In some territories across the world, especially South East Asia, it is not uncommon for gamers to where diapers while gaming. Why? So that they don’t lose points while taking a bathroom break. It is also not uncommon for these gamers to be fed while playing. Why? For the same reason.

These video games have now become a reality.

But there are two stories here and I want to ask the same question again. This time, with a twist.

Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist who has a lot to do with the way I think about things. He once questioned human life as potentially a ‘simulation.’ Think about that for a second.

Us humans have even created a video game that goes by the name of… ‘The Sims.’ A game where you can create humans inside of a simulation… I want to end by asking you one final question.

Why can’t we humans also be living in a simulation, being controlled by external beings?

Is University really worth it?

What’s the point of going to University?

I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people over the years and it’s always been a topic that brings out the argumentative nature in me.

Not because I am determined to prove my point, but because It’s a subject that I feel extremely passionate about.

For various reasons, I think making the choice to attend university is one of the best choices one person could make in their lives. I also think that making the choice not to go to university is one of the best choices you could make in your life, depending on what you choose to do with your time.

In the UK, employers care about one thing in particular that far outweighs any other qualities that a candidate may have… Work experience!

Ask yourself this question.

There is a job being advertised for Marine Amphibian Conservation Analyst in Plymouth.

Applicant 1 is a first class degree holder in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Kent, specialising in Marine Amphibians.

Applicant 2 spent one year in at Bournemouth University studying Animal Biology. However, he/she dropped out and has since gained two years working for London Zoo’s Marine Conservation Analytical team. For their first year, they volunteered, for their second year they started to get paid.

Who typically gets the job?

I loved my time at University, I was able to connect with people I wouldn’t usually connect with. Learn from industry professionals, meet friends for life and be involved in all kinds of campus activities that helped shape who I am today.

But did any of that help me get a job? Or was it the countless hours of volunteering for work experience that was able to get my media internship? Was it then my experience and knowledge at my internship that helped me get my first job out of uni? Was it the experience from my first job out of uni that helped me get my current job?

I believe it was.

I love and will always love my university and the people I met, it was them that put me on a platform that made me realise what had to be done to succeed. But do you really need a first class degree or even a 2:1 to be who you want to be and do you what you want to do?

No you don’t.

Do you need work experience to be who you want to be and do you what you want to do?

No you don’t.

But taking a diversional route and seeking opportunities outside of the norm, not being afraid to be different and challenging the world will allow you to be who you want to be and do you what you want to do.