Agency warns against children excessive use of social media

A child protection agency has warned against children’s excessive usage of social media.

The Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) is calling on all parents and guardians to take extra precaution on the children heavily accessing social media during these times of lockdown. 

The warning follows various incidences affecting children due to their excessive usage of the social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

With most of these cases, the children were unsupervised added the S.V.S.G.

The S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang has also called on the parents and guardians to look out for the children.

“We might be free from COVID-19, but our children are at risk of mental health problems due to their heavily accessing the social media unsupervised,” she said.

The Group also revealed that some of the affected children were brought to their offices seeking help after being severely affected mentally.

“It raises the alarm on the mental health impact on our young ones as they are exposed to online exploitation and abuse such as cyber bullying, sexting, child sexual abuse material, as well as digitally produced,” read the statement.

It also added that the S.V.S.G. has had cases of suicidal teenagers while others have run away from home while some tolerated the depression and anxiety on their own.  

The Psychosocial Officers from S.V.S.G. is working in partnership with the UNICEF Pacific and have been on stand by and are available via the toll free Help Line number: 8007874, to support the children going through these difficulties.

The statement added that in this day and age of social distancing, a positive side of the social media is that most of the schools are relying on digital connection to complement the limited schooling hours.

However, the Group is urging parents and guardians to play their part in limiting the children’s social media access to school work only, guarding the children from visiting inappropriate sites or creating outdoor activities for the children to break them from being hooked on the social media.

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