Social media and screen time: How will it affect the next generation in the workplace?
Posted On September 17, 2022
For today’s generation of young people, their smartphones are extensions of themselves. That’s how they communicate, how they entertain themselves, how they connect with others. One might even call it an addiction.
Screen time predictably climbed noticeably during and after the pandemic, as recent studies show that young people spend an average of almost seven hours daily looking at a screen.
How will that reliance manifest itself as this generation of young people enters the workplace?
For answers, we turned to Kristi Bush, a licensed social worker, national education consultant and social media safety advocate, who joined us in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston.”
Bush says screen time, and particularly social media, is actually shifting how young people’s brains function, how they react, how they feel. The most obvious outward representation of this is an inability to make eye contact, a discomfort with the face-to-face communication that we, as humans, need.
This obviously creates problems in interview situations, and with many other workplace interactions.
Another manifestation is that young people often don’t know how to react when things get hard, because their reliance on texting and social media has made it easy for them to simply stop communicating when difficulty arises.
And, Bush notes, rises in anxiety, depression and suicide can be traced to the increased reliance of young people on social media.
The simple solution for parents looking to raise well-adjusted and employable young people might seem to be simply taking away their phones. But that creates confrontation. Bush instead recommends understanding, communication and positive redirection:
- Encourage and create open communication. Avoid leading with judgment or frustration. Instead, focus on understanding each other, including what brings them joy on their devices.
- Direct them into a positive space. Find content for them that is supportive.
- Check up on what they’re watching online, set boundaries and stick to them.
- Encourage face-to-face interaction. Make them order in restaurants, for instance, and have conversations at dinner.
Bush shares tips and advice like this in school appearances and one-on-one counseling sessions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.