These days, Social Media has drastically changed the way we live, socialize and make friends. With all benefits Social Media gives us, there are also negative drawbacks. Spending time connected and interacting online, teens miss out on the critical social skills development. They may even come across cyberbullying, sexual solicitations, catfishing, sexting and others dangerous Internet phenomena. Besides, Social Media can lead to peer pressure, addiction and depression.
Teens social issues statistics
- 91% of teens use the Internet for Social Networking and chatting apps.
- In the past 25 years, the anxiety and depression rate among youth has increased by 70 %.
- 1 in 6 teens experiences anxiety disorder using Social Networks.
- More than 12 % of teens from 12-17 faced with a major depressive episode.
- Social anxiety disorders are more common in teen girls than boys.
- 1 in 5 teens accepts that they started to feel worse about their own life as a result of what they have seen on Social Media.
Social Media and Mental Health: What parents should know
These days, teens spend more than 6 hours on screens, including Social Networking. Excessive Social Media use only increase the risks of school performance drop, low self-esteem, anxiety increase and depression. Poorly managed time and access can lead to such effects of social media on teens:
- self-harm or suicide;
- cyberbullying, fighting,
- fear, anxiety;
- loneliness, jealousy,
- self-loathing or doubt;
- aggression, irritation, short temper.
Warning signs of Social Media Depression
The effects of Social Media on teens is one of the most popular topics for scientific research. For parents, it is essential to understand how Social Media impacts teens both emotionally and mentally and be aware of the worrying symptoms of negative social media usage. You need to raise a red flag if your kid:
- avoids friends, family, or any other social activities;
- loses the interest in normal daily activities;
- has changes in eating habits (increases or reduces eating);
- suffers from anger, irritation, excessive guilt or deep sadness;
- has a remarkable drop in academic performance;
- has increased concerns in appearance;
- shows signs of weight loss or weight gain;
- engages in risky behavior;
- has problems with concentrating or decision making;
- suffers from insomnia or hypersomnia;
- has feelings of worthlessness/hopelessness;
- shows suicidal thoughts, plans, ideas;
- complains of headaches, stomachaches;
- shows signs of diminished self-care or excessive guilt;
- suffer from fatigue or loss of energy;
All the symptoms mentioned above are likely to negatively affect teens` school performance, mental health, relationships with family and friends. The worst thing about teen depression is that it can be gradual. While complaints of sleep difficulties or frequent headaches seem age appropriate, still they shouldn`t happen regularly. If your vigorous and sociable teen appears to be sad, miserable or isolated, it is high time to raise a red flag.
How to protect teens from Social Media Depression
The main priority for every parent is to ensure that kids are safe and sound. That`s why it is crucial to teach them how to use Social Media responsibly to prevent depression, isolation or any other type of unhealthy behavior. Here are 5 tips that will come in handy for safe teen social media navigation:
- Support your kids
All kids require support and guidance. But for many parents, it is a difficult task to strike a balance between helping and controlling each step. As a parent, you need to do your best to support and protect your kid on the stormy area of the social media. First of all, the most important thing you can do is to keep an open line of communication with your teen. Your child needs to know that you will support them no matter what happens, even if their time on social media takes a turn for the worst.
- Have a talk
Parents play a crucial role in helping teens to accept and process everything they see online. To understand your kid`s digital world better, talk about your own experience with social media. Have you ever experienced anger or irritation scrolling through your feed? Or added a person as a friend that turned out to be a fake because you didn`t take time to look? When parents share their own experiences and talk openly about their ups and downs on the social media, youth are more likely to open up about their social media usage as well.
- Ask questions
In no way show your authority, as it can backfire. As a parent, take an interest in your kid`s digital life. Ask your teen what apps they use and why they like them. Give your teen an opportunity to tell you about all social media benefits. Talk about such things as cyberbullying, peer pressure, sexting and other dangers to make social media a more positive experience for your teen.
So when questionable or dangerous situations arise online or in real life, your minor would be aware how to handle them.
- Model appropriate behavior
Growing up in the era of digital technologies is a pretty difficult task. For this reason, for teens, it is very important to have a good example to follow, as almost daily they are confronted with new and confusing information. Setting rules, saying not to use phones during the meal, parents also need to follow them. Otherwise, teens will not be able to learn important lessons in self-care and setting limits.
When teens start to internalize the importance of limits and boundaries, they can also set limits for the communication with their peers. It is an important life skill that can be very helpful in further adult life.
- Monitor Social Media usage
Without doubts, having a conversation, asking questions and interacting with your kid is needed, but more important is to supervise their social media usage. Monitoring their browsing history, bookmarks and a list of installed apps can help to prevent undesired consequences and raise a red flag immediately. Kidgy low-cost cyber nanny is one of the best solutions for concerned parents. Using Kidgy parents can: Make kid`s online surfing safe and fun, always knowing what your kid is up to online. You can view your kid`s search history, block adult sites, limit access to apps and social media sites.
- Have a clue what apps your kid installs and uses. You can view and limit time spent on each app, and block those that you disapprove.
- Supervise your kids` real-time location, route history, set virtual barriers and get a notification when they leave or enter them.
- Read any sent, received or deleted text message and view timestamps.
- View all incoming and outgoing calls on your kid`s phone and restrict unwanted contacts from their address book.
- Set tasks remotely and follow their progress.
When it comes to parenting in a digital world, connection with your kid is very important. Having constant face-to-face communication and supervising their social media usage is the best protection parents can do for their teens.