We have officially reached a point in history where we have an entire generation of people who have grown up using digital media. From their first moments of life, they have been introduced to technology, that provides them access and connectivity to the entire world. We see little ones in strollers playing with cell phones and iPad’s before they can even walk and talk. This new generation is already consuming and creating content at astronomical rates. However, it is important to note, and studies have shown that digital media consumption is addicting, both physically and psychologically. Participating in social media produces the same neurological response as using an addictive substance. Specifically, when a person receives a notification that a post has received attention, such as a ‘like’ or a ‘mention’, the brain naturally receives a rush of dopamine causing the person pleasure and a sense of satisfaction. This exact same response can be compared to individuals using addictive drugs (Hilliard, 2019).
In our day and age, many adults suffer from media addiction; however, young people suffer this addiction at a much higher rate, as they have been exposed to digital media content since birth. We are providing young persons with access to a world of information and people without providing them with the tools, guidelines, and education about how to use the Internet safely. Our goal in this article is to provide a framework for parents and young persons, in order to understand our role as a digital citizen and how we best to navigate content, with a focus on practicing good cyber hygiene.