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Frequencies of Yahuah: Social Media, Internet Usage & Our Children.

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Children are becoming targets for apps that allow them to connect to their age group. Recently Facebook has launched a messenger for kids. This messenger targets 6-13 year olds as a " way of connecting to the family". But is it really designed to connect to family, or just another distraction to keep family from actually interacting with each other in conversation? This sermon will explore the effects of devices most parents allow their children to own and uses on a daily basis. You will learn how children's brains are being effected by internet/ device usage and maybe you will change your mind about letting your children have access.

Children & Cell Phones

Just over half of children in the United States — 53 percent — now own a smartphone by the age of 11. And 84 percent of teenagers now have their own phones, immersing themselves in a rich and complex world of experiences that adults sometimes need a lot of decoding to understand.- NPR

A Study done by and what they found

How young are children when they are first granted access to a cell phone from a family member or friend? We asked over 1000 US parents to give us an honest insight as to when they allow their kids access to a phone-

4 in 10 US kids are 6 or under when parents first let them use a cellphone (40%)

  • 28% of kids first use a cell phone at age 4 or less

  • 12% of children first use a phone between the ages of 1-2

  • 14% of kids did not use a cell phone until they were a teenager (13-16%)

At what age do parents ‘bite the bullet’ and actually allow their child to have a cell phone of their own? When do parents think kids are mature enough to ‘own’ their own phone? The research above indicates that parents allow their kids to ‘use’ cell phones from quite an early age, but is this a similar pattern when it comes to allowing a child to have their own cell phone? Let’s take a look at the main highlights:

  • 40% of US parents let their kids have their own phone by the age of 10

  • 65% of pre-teenage kids have a phone by the time they reach 13!

  • Nearly 10% of parents admit to buying/giving their child their first phone at 6 or under

  • A quarter of parents wait until their kid is 11-12 before they allow them a phone of their own.

  • 1% of parents let their child have their own phone by the ages of 1-2!

  • 4% of parents let their child have their own phone by 4 years old


Survey by YouGov shows three-quarters of kids between 8-11regularly use a tablet and Most Americans between the age of 8 to 17 say they regularly use a tablet (65%). survey of 593 US Children Age 8-17

"Parents play a big influence on tablet usage and YouGov’s research finds that less than half of Gen Z (47%) have unlimited access to their tablets. This too varies by age; just 28% of 8 to 11 year-olds say they have no limit on their tablet usage, and kids at that age are more likely to say they can use it whenever but are limited in how long they can use it (40%). The data also suggests that once a child reaches 12 years of age, she is more likely to have unlimited access to her tablet."

Parental Controls:

  • While a vast majority of teens (90 percent) say their parents trust them to be responsible online, 45 percent said they would change something about their online behavior if their parents were watching.

  • Among parents with children less than 8 years old, they use the following methods to help control their child's media content access:

    • 57 percent of parents watch or play the content first

    • 34 percent of parents listen to recommendations from friends

    • 31 percent of parents rely on the reputation of the company

    • 25 percent of parents allow the child to find it themselves

    • 13 percent of parents check website reviews

    • 5 percent of parents check newspaper or magazine reviews.

  • Almost 70 percent of pre-teens admit to hiding online activities

  • Less than 47 percent of young people (ages 10-23) are aware of what their child is doing online

  • Fewer than half of teens are bothered by parental monitoring of their online or mobile activities and a majority of teens say parent's looking over their shoulders doesn't bother them that much. 

  • 91 percent of parents say they are well informed about what their teens do online or on their cellphones. Three in five teens say their parents know what they do online. 

  • 93 percent of parents say they talk to their teens about online safety, while only 61 percent of teens report having this conversation. 

How Teens Are Connected

The Pew Research Center regularly conducts surveys on technology use in the United States, and collects data on adolescents’ social media use.

  • Teens connect via mobile. Widespread and improved mobile technology means teens can access social media more easily. According to a Pew survey conducted during 2014 and 2015, 94 percent of teens who go online using a mobile device do so daily.

  • Teens use multiple social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular and 71 percent of teens say they use more than one social media site.

  • Teens’ social media use differs by gender. Boys report going on Facebook most often ; while girls are more likely than boys to use visually-oriented platforms such as Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.

  • Teens share a lot of their personal information. A survey of over 600 teens from 2012 found that nearly all shared their real name and photos of themselves and most shared their school name, birthdate, and the city or town where they lived.

  • Teens use social media for romance too. Another 2015 Pew report - PDF on the role of technology in teen romantic relationships notes that half of teens say they’ve used Facebook or other social networking sites to express romantic interest in someone, and many use these sites to display their romantic relationships.

Effects of Device Usage on Developing Brains

1. Short Attention Spans- Science Direct

Today, teachers voice similar concerns about the effects of Internet use on the cognitive abilities of students growing up with access to the World Wide Web [1]. Of the 2462 American middle- and high-school teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center, 87% felt that widespread Internet use was creating an ‘easily distracted generation with short attention spans’ and 88% felt that ‘today's students have fundamentally different cognitive skills because of the digital technologies they have grown up with’.

  • The naturally malleable period of adolescence, which is often defined as beginning around puberty and ending when one obtains a relatively stable role in society, makes this a time of particular concern to adults. Agency and many cognitive skills increase during early adolescence, yet some skills (such as navigating the social world) continue to develop throughout the teen years.

  • Likewise, the human brain undergoes profound changes in both its structure and its function during adolescence [2]. Cellular studies of post-mortem brain tissue have shown high levels of dendritic spines in the prefrontal cortex in late childhood/early adolescence, with the number of spines reducing by almost half through the teenage years and into the third decade [3]. Because experience partially determines what connections are kept and strengthened during this period of development, some adults are concerned that Internet use could be ‘rewiring’ the brains of individuals growing up online.

Internet use on Adolecent Health

  • Both adolescents and adults are now using the Internet more than ever. Evidence increasingly suggests that time spent online does not displace time spent doing other activities associated with health and well-being. Indeed, a recent longitudinal study of 14–24-year-olds (n = 719) found a positive relationship between moderate Internet use and participation in ‘real-world’ activities such as sports and clubs

Effects on Memory

  • They found that when students expected to have future access to information, they were less likely to remember specific information but more likely to remember where to find the specific information (Sparrow et al., 2011). This result would suggest that near-constant access to the Internet could in-fluence the kind of information an individual chooses to remember.

  • Given the high levels of information trafficked through the Internet, there have been concerns that exposure to inaccurate information through social me-dia could encourage false memory formation. This hy-pothesis was tested in a group of undergraduate stu-dents who were exposed to false information through a pseudo-Twitter feed compared to a non-social media (but still web-based) source of information (Fenn, Grif-fin, Uitvlugt, & Ravizza, 2014).

Analytical Thinking

  • Another common concern about Internet use is that it can lead to shallower thinking. One hypothesis under-lying this concern is that having instant access to seem-ingly limitless information takes away the need to en-gage in more cognitively effortful processes.

  • In this study, when undergraduate students had access to the answers provided by others in highly–connected networks, they were more likely to correctly answer a question that required analytical reasoning, but were less likely to utilize analytic reasoning in later situations that required this cognitive strategy (Rahwan et al., 2014).

  • These findings indicate that that individuals who are part of a highly connected network (like the Inter-net) are less likely to adopt the kind of cognitive strategy needed to reach a solution when the solution is readily available

Social Competence

  • However, when an individual’s social cognitive skills are lacking, using social network sites to compensate might not facilitate the development of healthy peer relations. Two recent studies suggest that the motiva-tions for using social networking sites influence peer relationships, and the same motivations can lead to dif-ferent outcomes for adolescents and young adults. In a longitudinal study of adolescents, use of social net-working sites to compensate for weak social cognitive skills was associated with increased peer-related lone-liness, but using social networking sites to form new re-lationships was associated with decreased peer-related loneliness (Teppers et al., 2014).

Processing Social Cues

  • It is difficult to determine what might be lost when in-dividuals interact primarily through digital means, and experimental studies that test both offline and online forms of communication are rare.

  • One study examined how different forms of communication (face-to-face, video chat, audio chat, and instant messaging) impact feelings of bonding and affiliation in a group of college students (Sherman, Michikyan, & Greenfeld, 2013). By coding the amount of interpersonal cues shared be-tween two friends in these four types of interaction, these researchers were able to parse apart how digital communication could impact relationships

  • They found that interpersonal cues were lower in communications through digital media and that this decline was associat-ed with decreased feelings of bonding and nonverbal af-filiation cues (Sherman et al., 2013). However, the study also found that it was still possible to elicit feelings of bonding through the use of digital interpersonal cues (e.g., emoticons or typed laughter) in text-based commu-nication, and that video chat elicited similar levels of bonding as face-to-face interaction (Sherman et al., 2013).

Online Predators/ Sexual Content-

  • Approximately 95 percent of all Americans between 12 and 17 years old are online and three in four teens access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices (as of 2012)[i]

  • One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet says they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Solicitations were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or to give out personal sexual information. (only 25% of those told a parent) [ii]

  • About 30% of the victims of Internet sexual exploitation are boys.

  • Internet sexual predators tend to fall between the ages of 18 and 55, although some are older or younger. Their targets tend to be between the ages of 11 and 15

  • In 100% of the cases, teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them[iii].

  • There are 799,041 Registered Sex Offenders in the United States (2015)[iv].

  • Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16 percent of teens considered meeting someone they've only talked to online and 8 percent have actually met someone they only knew online[v].

  • 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services[vi].

I am a mother of 3 teenage daughters. If you have read any of my other sermons or my Facebook Profile or have listened to River City Revival on your podcast platform, you know that my oldest 2 were molested and sodomized at 7&8 years old. I was a parent who wanted to give my girls what I thought they deserved because so much was taken from them. However, my oldest decided she was going to go on social media: Kik, Tango, wasapp, and others to meet men who told her that "They Love Her" All the while asking for her to do sex acts while they watch. Mind you she was only 13 AT THE TIME!! Her phone was taken from her and until the age of 16 her Chromebook that school gave to her was kept at school. There was an instance when she emailed someone suicidal thoughts from her schools computer and the principle intervened.

My family matters more to me than what society says I should be doing and allowing. It is time we as parents take our homes back and protect our children!!!

The more you educate yourself, the better choices you can make as a parent. Coming from a parent who has first hand experience, I hop you have learned that the internet is not our children friend.

1 John 2:15-17 King James Version (KJV)

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Additional Resources:

Social media and our children

Digital Life

Children's Media Use in America

Cyber bullying

ATT- Smart Controls

Kids Cell Phone Use Survey 2019-By SellCell

Technology as a babysitter

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