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UAE: 12 hours on social media, phones at bedtime; why children’s digital addiction needs to be tackled – News

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Hanan Ezzeldin, founder and CEO of The Family Hub, says social media safety should be part of the curriculum


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published: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 6:57 am

Teens spending too much time on social media, leading to sleep deprivation, can be as serious as drug addiction, experts warn.

“On average, teens spend 6 to 12 hours a day on social media outside of school hours. Kids no longer get enough 8 to 10 hours of sleep. They often sleep with their phones in hand, waking up in the middle of the night to check messages , videos and likes [on their posts]. If we allow all of that, it becomes an addiction,” said Hanan Ezzeldin, founder and CEO of The Family Hub.

“Studies show that screen time is as addictive as a drug. As parents, we must stand up and say how much time our children can spend online. We also need to find alternatives to social media use by children,” Ezeldine Speaking at a panel discussion on safety and digital well-being held by social media giant TikTok.

She emphasizes working with children and teens for whom parents are role models.

watch with kids

“First of all, we need to be role models. As parents, if we always post on social media what we had for breakfast and all our daily activities, then the kids will follow suit. Even if we share something we shouldn’t have, we Also having to talk about it, admitting and acknowledging that we made a mistake and we’re deleting it. Always be there for the kids because they do stupid things, it’s not uncommon for kids. We need to talk to them about bullying in the home,” she said during a group discussion.

Screen addiction, says Family Hub CEO, is instant gratification.

Watch and talk about cartoons and songs with kids when they watch them, she suggests. “Co-viewing is a very important tool. But don’t watch it while eating.”

part of the course

Hanan Ezzeldin pointed out that schools are becoming digital, so children have 5 or 6 hours of digital time per day.

“Train children how to be safe online and raise awareness about bullying. Schools can engage the community by sharing videos of community service. The curriculum also needs to be engaging as education cannot be limited to science and maths. There should be a proper social media safety curriculum and character building in the kids,” she said.

She gave an example and added that since parents cannot leave their children unattended in the mall, similarly they cannot be left alone in the internet world.

“We are the first generation of parents, and our biggest role is to teach our children to make mistakes, and we are there when they make mistakes.”

Kevin Morgan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, also spoke about the need for age-specific content categorization to ensure teens’ safety and digital and mental health.

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