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How Social Media Uses Addictive Algorithms to Keep Kids Online

Written by: Isabelle Rupani / September 09, 2023

As the digital age unfolds, more children have unrestricted access to social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. While these platforms provide avenues for social interaction, creativity, and information, they have also been under scrutiny for their potential negative impact on young users. Central to this concern is the role of social media algorithms that can perpetuate addictive behaviors, especially among children.

What Are Social Media Algorithms?

At the heart of every social media platform, from Youtube to Pinterest, is an algorithm. These algorithms decide what content appears on a user's feed. They prioritize posts, videos, and stories based on the user's interactions, likes, shares, and viewing time. The aim is to keep the user engaged for as long as possible.

For children, whose brains are still developing and more malleable, the effects can be more pronounced. They might lack the cognitive skills to discern between regular content consumption and addictive patterns.

How Algorithms Keep Children Addicted to Social Media

  1. Instant Gratification: Every time a child gets a like, share, or comment, it triggers a release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. This instant reward system can be addictive, making children crave more interactions.

  2. FOMO: Algorithms create a curated world where everyone seems to be having a good time, leading children to believe they are missing out if they are not constantly connected.

  3. Tailored Content: Since algorithms feed users content based on previous interactions, children get trapped in echo chambers where they see more of what they already like, leading to binge-watching and endless scrolling.

Limiting Screen Time Addiction in Your Kids

Preventing the addictive loop initiated by social media algorithms involves multiple approaches, and technology can be part of the solution.

Gryphon routers are among the tools parents can use to ensure their children's online safety and limit screen time. Here's how:

  1. Limiting Screen Time: Gryphon routers allow parents to set screen time limits for different devices. By ensuring children have set times for non-screen activities, they can develop other hobbies and reduce their reliance on social media for entertainment.

  2. Scheduled Access: Parents can schedule times when devices can access the internet. This can ensure that children aren't sneaking in screen time during bedtime or study hours.

  3. Filter Content: While the focus here is on social media, the internet is vast. Gryphon routers allow for content filtering, ensuring that children are not exposed to potentially harmful content.

  4. Monitor Usage: Gryphon provides reports on website visits, giving parents an overview of their child's online activity. This can be a starting point for conversations about healthy internet habits.

Outside of using Gryphon routers, there are a few more things you can do to help reduce your kids' social media addiction. 

  1. Educate: Talk to children about the design of social media platforms and how algorithms work. Understanding the mechanism can help them make informed choices.

  2. Encourage Offline Activities: Promote hobbies that don't involve screens. Encouraging reading, outdoor activities, or crafting can provide alternative sources of entertainment.

  3. Set an Example: Children often mimic adult behaviors. If they see their guardians taking breaks from screens, they are likely to follow suit.

Protect Your Kids from Social Media Addiction with Gryphon

While the digital age brings numerous advantages, it's essential to navigate it mindfully, especially for younger users. Through a combination of technology like Gryphon routers, education, and conscious efforts, we can ensure that children enjoy the benefits of social media without falling prey to its addictive algorithms. Find the Gryphon router that's right for your family today.