Youth Have Gone Overboard on Social Media: What to Know, and What Can Be Done?
Statistics show that more than 90% of youth globally (ages 16-24) have been brought up with direct access to mobile technology (globalwebindex). It’s safe to say that they are inundated and yes, overloaded with information. While technology definitely has its benefits, we are quickly learning the not so positive impacts that easily accessible technology and over exposure can have on our young people. As we have experienced within our own daily routines, gaining the mind share and focus from todays’ teens can be quite challenging! Ask most parents and educators, and they would tell you—how frustrating it can be when trying to hold a conversation with their own children or students.
To help understand this phenomenon, we need to be aware of the most common platforms where our young people are spending large amounts of their time. Did you know that todays young people spend an average of 8 hours per day on social media, music streaming, TV, game consoles and online press? Today, students are spending 2 to 3 times more minutes on social media than the time they invest on homework.
Our Gen Zers control, or are part of $200 billion in direct spending as a result of online activity. If you are a parent reading this blog, guess what? Gen Zers influence more than $600 billion in spending by their parents. Parents need to be aware of this phenomenon and pay serious attention to the habits and focus of their own children.
What You Can Do:
First, we recommend that you limit your child’s access to technology during the day. Give them boundaries and parameters they need to work within. For example, if your child is in middle school and wants to play video games, require that they first play a game of chess online, read a book or even do chores. Give them a target to work towards in order to earn the privilege to use technology. Yes, they may kick, scream and complain, but in the end, you are teaching them the principles of discipline and prioritization. For teens, encourage your son or daughter to turn off all electronics at the dinner table and be sure to require that they leave their phone turned off when doing homework. It is critically important that we positively ration the exposure our children have to mobile technologies and social media to ensure they learn discipline, hard work and focus.
Why Is This Significant:
Did you know that Gen Zers have an 8-second attention span? They want things to be done now; pronto and in the most convenient way possible. Because of this phenomenon, created by the use of technology, video advertisers are now forced to produce anything and everything trying to get their attention in 10 seconds or less. This presents massive issues for educators who are having challenges trying to engage students in the classroom. Educators must figure out how to engage and keep their students attention. Corporations are also having a tough time recruiting, training and retaining talent at their corporations. The average time span in a post college job is approximately 2 years in one company.
Why Be Concerned:
As adults, we know that it takes 2+ years to get established and comfortable at a job. We also know that it takes even longer to grow within your selected career path. Most Gen Zers are thinking for the moment and not too far into the future. Contrary to what many believe, they are very career-focused, yet often confused and lacking direction. They do think for themselves, and flip from one career interest or opportunity to another very quickly without thinking about a long-term plan. As parents and educators this provides a tremendous opportunity for us to serve as mentors and leaders to help provide guidance and direction.
Todays’ young people are big believers in diversity, non-discrimination, poverty alleviation, social responsibility, — they want to change the world for the better. As professionals, parents and educators, the more we are hip to how Gen Zers think, act and what makes them tick, the better. While social media and technology can be great enablers for the change our young people want to see, nothing can replace the impact that a positive relationship can have with a parent or educator. Engage with young people and provide them guidance and support. It will make a huge impact on their future happiness and success.
BIZNOVATOR is a youth empowerment platform that offers a year-round experience for young people interested in entrepreneurship, social innovation and global leadership. Through our seminars, workshops, summer camps and in school Academies, BIZNOVATOR helps young people to DISCOVER their purpose, TRANSFORM their mindset and CONNECT to their future. We have recently launched our Online Learning Platform, www.mybiznovator.com which enables young people from all over the world to experience our unique BIZNOVATOR programs. We invite you to join us!
Juan Pablo Casimiro is Founder and CEO of BIZNOVATOR. With more than 30 years of empowering youth and adults globally, Casimiro never misses a moment to teach, coach and challenge his clients to live their dreams. Casimiro was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City.