Drama. As a high schooler, I followed my social media feed in order to stay updated on everyone’s life. It’s is the idea of staying “in-the-know” that draws kids to social pages. Unfortunately, all of this connectivity can lead to cyberbullying, realizing you weren’t invited to the latest party, or seeing your ex with a new mate. Social media has been linked to depression in teens, especially girls.
However, studies also find correlations between frequent online use and disruption of sleep and exercise. Scientists are thinking this through. Perhaps the real problem is the combination of lack of sleep along with deteriorating fitness levels and too much time indoors that amplifies social media drama to present a negative impact on mental health.
It’s time to decrease the drama.
You’re not going to keep your kids off of social media. So, encourage them to join groups and communities on platforms that help them feel connected and safe. Chat with them about responsible use of the internet and what to do if they are feeling threatened or stalked. Make sure your teens are getting enough sleep, eating right and working out. Inspire them to interactive with friends in “live” situations, and recommend that they follow news via social media. They will get some knowledge about current events and maybe formulate some interesting opinions. You know they will never watch the news on TV anyway!
Apps like WebSafety can be used to monitor their usage while allowing them the freedom to use platforms constructively.
Social media can make a positive impact on kids and teens. We can do our part by helping to enhance their experience and creating good online examples for them!