One in three adolescents recognizes that they have a “toxic” relationship with technology

by time news

2023-10-24 09:45:57

Technology is an accomplice, not the culprit. That idea is what María Zabala, a communications consultancy specialized in Digital Literacy and Citizenship, tries to convey in her conferences. We must not demonize social networks, we must learn to use them. And soon.

According to a Unicef ​​study, one in three adolescents recognizes that they have a “problematic” or “toxic relationship” with technology. Here is explained one of the great myths about young people: just because they are digital natives does not mean that they know how to use a phone or a computer with an Internet connection well.

The key is in the behavior of each adolescent. “If we are talking about a boy who comes from a complicated situation or with basic problems, he may isolate himself on social networks and end up hooked. But the opposite can happen, perhaps a young man who is not very sociable finds friends and manages to overcome that. precisely thanks to the networks. The important thing is that There are no studies that say that networks by themselves are problematic“, Explain.

Of course, a lot of knowledge of what we are getting into is needed, and not only for young people. “A large majority of parents also have social networks and very few use them correctly. We adults are not exactly here to give lessons. to youth on how to use social networks,” says Zabala.

A user with his mobile phone. EFE

If there are now more young people with mental health problems, it is not because of the networks. “We are talking about a generation that goes from crisis to crisis, and the last blow was dealt by the pandemic and the confinement. Mental health problems arise from many factors,” they say. On the other hand, it is also in age. “60% of 13- to 17-year-olds say they have had negative experiences on TikTok. But when we go further, the same percentage has also had them at school or with their friends. It is a complicated stage, in which there are many complexes and insecurities,” says Zabala.

The data business

This does not mean that social networks are harmless. It is important to explain to our children, and partly to understand ourselves, what the business of the internet giants with our data is like. “To begin with, adults should know this because today it is necessary information to be responsible citizens, just like learning how to file an income tax return, they should know that Social networks are designed so that the user stays as long as possible and earns money at the expense of the data that you give them for free,” says Zabala. This information should be disclosed more, in order to guarantee safety on the Internet. Ours and that of our children.

Read more:  Reindustrialisation: Emmanuel Macron wants to “compete” with the United States

In Zabala’s opinion, the use of social networks should already be part of parenting. “Just as we don’t let them go out without limits from one day to the next, but rather we let them go little by little, on social networks and the Internet we should also introduce them hand in hand. There are voices that ask for a ban, but that is absurd because the internet can be a wonderful tool“. Parental control of mobile phones, with which parents can restrict certain accesses, is a good tool to teach technological literacy to adolescents.

A user with his mobile phone. EFE

The problem here, according to Zabala, is that the administration’s money is not entirely well invested. “Millions in European funds have arrived for the digital literacy of teachers and students, but we have forgotten the third leg, which is families. If we do not give them the tools, it is normal that they choose to prohibit.”

“Problem use”, never addiction

No international psychology association includes screen addiction, although it does speak of “problematic use” or “toxic relationship.” It has to do with many factors, but one of them is the self-control capacity of each child or person. “This is where each person’s personality comes in, there are those who go on Instagram and before they realize they have been looking at photos for three hours, and others who are able to set a defined schedule without any problem,” says Zabala.

A user with his mobile phone. EFE

What is problematic or toxic are the experiences we live on networks. For example, a minor may suffer ciberbullying through social networks, but you can also find friends you don’t have there and improve your life. It all depends on the use.

In conclusion, it is not about saying “this is bad”, but about having the tools to teach, according to Zabala, who is in fact very much in favor of the use of technology in the classroom. To do this, three cases must be met: that it be relevant, scalable and sustainable. “The Internet is not a place that is made for children, so you have to introduce them little by little and let them learn,” she insists.

#adolescents #recognizes #toxic #relationship #technology

You may also like

Leave a Comment