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One of the many ways social media is harming the emotional and brain growth of your kids is the time it’s taking from them, and how it’s taking them away from other more important things. And especially play.

The simple act of playing, something social media can get in the way of, is believed to be essential to the growth of a child, in helping them to develop a range of life skills, and in setting them on an upward life spiral.

The “broaden and build theory”, developed in the 1990s, is one of the most important in child psychology and focuses on how positive emotions can create an upward spiral in life – a way to counteract negative emotions and the negative thinking patterns that have the opposite effect.

It argues that the more positive emotions a child focuses on, the more positive the outcome and the more that feeds on itself for even more positive outcomes. And so they keep growing upwards.

Joy And Play

An example that’s often cited is based around one of the key emotions for all humans, joy. For example, when children “feel” joy, this often leads to the “action” of playing.

That playing in turn helps children:

  • To develop and hone critically essential social skills.
  • To develop friendships and understand how friendships work.
  • To interact with and learn from others.
  • To build self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • To become more emotionally resilient.
  • To become more curious.
  • To stimulate imagination and creativity.

That positive “feeling to action” movement can set kids up for the best and the rest of their lives. Not just in their joy, their happiness, their contentment and so on, but in overall life and career success.

Negative Emotions, Less Play

Half of teens now report spending up to 5 hours every day on social media, and in most cases scrolling through negative and pointless content.

All those valuable hours are depriving them of the incredible value of both focusing on the upward spiral of positive emotions, and the life-building value of the simple act of playing.

Playing, and especially if it’s outside, can also mean exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and so many other elements that are essential to the healthy growth of a brain.