Lifestyle Magazine

Teen Mental Health & Social Media

September 5, 2019

Social media is a big part of the lives of teens today. It provides them with a sense of community and enables them to connect with people worldwide.

However, social media is not all sunshine and roses. Studies suggest that heavy social media usage is likelier to develop a negative body image, low self-esteem, and unhealthy habits.

Studies also show a link between common mental disorders like depression and anxiety and heavy use of social media. While it isn’t clear whether it’s social media use that leads to mental illness, or mental illness that leads to heavy social media use, experts generally agree that there’s a connection between the two.

Many theories attempt to explain this connection. One suggests that the social pressure of being online and available all day causes FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which in turn leads to anxiety, a concern for any parent raising teens.

Raising Teens in the Digital Age

Every parent dreams of raising happy and responsible adults but social media has made this a lot harder.  Nonetheless, it is still doable.

Teach your teens good social media habits

The internet can be a dangerous place for adults, let alone teenagers. Parents should take an active role in teaching their kids how to use social media safely. Otherwise, kids learn from friends, older siblings and other influencers, whose priority is not necessarily safety.

Set some ground rules

Setting ground rules and time limits for social media is one of the best ways of teaching teens good social media habits. However, teens should be part of this process as they’re the ones who must abide by the rules; it helps if they feel a sense of ownership.

Practice what you preach

Kids and teens are sponges who learn best through observation. Leading by example is the best way to teach kids good social media habits. If parents spend a lot of time on social media, no number of rules or time limits can keep their kids from their phones and laptop screens.

Keep them busy

Enrolling teens in sports and other activities that keep them busy can reduce the amount of time they spend on social media. Moreover, physical activities can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression and keep mental illness at bay.

Raising happy and healthy teens in the digital age is all about promoting healthy habits. Create some rules, and enroll your kids in enough activities that they’re so involved with life that they barely have time to check their social media!

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