Childhood 2.0 The Living Experiment
Directed by Robert Muratore and Jamin Winans (2020)
This documentary is intended to warn parents of grave dangers social media poses to children. It features researchers, child psychiatrists and psychologists, Internet activists and teenage focus groups.
Nearly all parents are less familiar with the newer social media sites than their kids. In fact, most view the physical world (in terms of rape, child molestation, kidnapping, etc) poses the most life threatening dangers to their children. In reality, however, the virtual world is far more dangerous.
Recent studies show that nearly all children haves smartphones by age 12 and spend an average of seven hours a day on their phone. Mark Zuckerberg and other social media barons admit to engaging brain dopamine reward networks to keep users on their sites longer. Young people under 20 are most susceptible to this effect, as frontal lobe functions responsible for self-regulation don’t develop until the early twenties.
Other studies show a direct correlation between the amount of time kids spend on phones and delayed development of social and other coping skills. Studies of teen suicide rates show a 56% surge since 2010, when smartphones and access to social media became widely available. Moreover psychologists and school counselors report a big increase in anxiety, depression and self-harm behavior linked to the steady increase in teen phone use.
Girls themselves report a significant increase in anxiety levels when their posts receive a lower number likes as their friends.
Even more alarming is the pressure girls feel to post sexualized images on sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. And the ubiquitous of presence of sexual predators who use social media to groom and hopefully meet girls as young as 12, the potentially lethal effect of cyberbullying. And the ease with which boys as young as eight are accessing hard core pornography on-line.