The Effects of Social Media on Youth Mental Health: What Parents Need to Consider
With the increasing use of social media among young people, concerns about its impact on mental health have also been on the rise. Recently, both the United States surgeon general and the American Psychological Association have issued warnings about the risks of social media to young people. As parents, it is important to take a close look at how social media is affecting our children and whether it is enhancing their lives or hampering their ability to function and learn.
Here are some practical questions that parents should consider when evaluating their children’s social media use:
- Does my child participate in a “diverse and meaningful” range of activities every day?
It is essential to consider whether your child loves or derives a sense of pleasure from other daily activities, including some not in the virtual world. If children are doing something besides going to school and spending time on screens, they may have a balanced and healthy relationship with social media, even if they are on it every day.
Moreover, if social media is your child’s primary emotional outlet, it could be a warning sign that you need to help them find other strategies to cope with stress.
- How many hours a day is my child using social media?
While there isn’t a clear threshold for how much social media use is too much for preteens and teens, the time spent on it matters. Parents should have a clear sense of how much their children are online every day.
Experts’ opinions differ, but some tend to use a benchmark of no more than four hours of total screen time per day for adolescents. Establishing a ratio of three to five hours of face-to-face socializing or in-person activities for every one hour a teen spends on social media could also be helpful.
- Does my child have a very hard time stopping?
Children tend to be unhappy when their screen time is up, but persistent tears, anger, or yelling could signal a potential red flag. Stopping is a skill parents can teach, and they can use a kitchen timer to indicate when their screen time is up.
- Is it affecting their ability to function day to day?
Parents should consider whether social media is causing their children to stay up too late and affecting their ability to get enough sleep or complete their homework. It is important to establish family rules, such as keeping all devices outside of the bedroom overnight.
Parents should also look out for changes in mood or appetite, which can signal distress. Checking for some of the signs of teenage depression could be useful.
Social media is not inherently good or bad for teens. Parents need to take a close look at how it is affecting their children and whether it is enhancing their lives or hampering their ability to function and learn. It is necessary to establish a balanced and healthy relationship with social media and promote other daily activities to avoid excessive screen time. Parents can also teach their children to stop screen time and have open and non-judgmental conversations about the impacts of social media on their mental health.
- Social media addiction in children
- Negative impacts of social media on children’s mental health
- Parental control and monitoring of children’s social media usage
- Social media and cyberbullying among children
- Balancing screen time and healthy habits for children.
News Source : Catherine Pearson
Source Link :Is Your Child’s Relationship to Social Media Unhealthy? Here’s How to Tell./