There is no denying that social media has had a profound impact on the way we communicate and interact with each other. It has connected us with people all over the world, allows us to share our thoughts and experiences with others, and has even given rise to new forms of communication, such as emojis and live-streaming.
But while social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, there is also a downside to its usage – particularly when it comes to children and young adults. Studies have shown that excessive social media use can lead to a number of mental health problems in this age group, including anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
So what can parents do to help their children avoid these negative effects? Here are a few tips on how to modify social media usage and understand the signs that social media is affecting your child.
Tips on to Modify Social Media Usage
Encourage face-to-face interaction
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to forget the importance of face-to-face interaction. Make sure to encourage your children to spend time with their friends and family in person, rather than just communicating online. This will help them develop strong social skills and reduce their dependence on social media.
Set limits on screen time
Just like with anything else, moderation is key when it comes to social media use. Help your children find a balance by setting limits on how much time they can spend on their devices each day.
Encourage positive self-esteem
Social media can be a breeding ground for negative self-comparison. Help your children build positive self-esteem by encouraging them to focus on their own unique qualities and achievements rather than comparing themselves to others.
Monitor their activity
Keep tabs on what your children are doing online by monitoring their social media activity. This will help you identify any red flags, such as if they’re being cyberbullied or viewing inappropriate content.
Signs Social Media is Impacting Your Child’s Mental Health
1. Your child is spending more time on social media than with real people.
If your child spends more time interacting with people online than with real people, it could be a sign that their mental health is suffering. This is because social media can be a very isolating activity, and it can prevent kids from getting the face-to-face interaction they need in order to thrive. If you notice that your child is spending more time alone scrolling through social media than they are talking to and hanging out with friends, it’s worth having a talk with them about how they’re feeling.
2. They’re constantly comparing themselves to others.
One of the dangers of social media is that it gives kids a false idea of what “normal” looks like. When they see everyone else’s highlight reel, it’s easy for them to believe that everyone else’s life is perfect – and that theirs isn’t. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, which can impact mental health. If you notice your child constantly comparing themselves to others online, it’s important to talk to them about it and help them understand that what they see on social media isn’t always an accurate representation of reality.
3. They seem more anxious or stressed than usual.
If your child seems more anxious or stressed than usual, it could be a sign that social media is impacting their mental health. This is because social media can be a breeding ground for anxiety-inducing activity, such as cyberbullying or constantly comparing themselves to others. If you notice your child seems more on edge, it’s worth asking them if anything online is bothering them.
4. They’re not sleeping as well as they used to.
If your child isn’t sleeping as well as they used to, it could be a sign that social media is affecting their mental health. This is because the blue light from screens can interfere with sleep, and scrolling through social media before bed can make it harder to fall asleep. If you notice your child is having trouble sleeping, it’s worth asking them if they’re spending too much time on their phone or other devices before bed.
5. They’re withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy.
If your child is withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, it could be a sign that social media is impacting their mental health. This is because social media can be very addictive and take away from time that would otherwise be spent doing things that are good for mental health, such as exercising, spending time with friends, or pursuing hobbies. If you notice your child is no longer interested in the things they used to enjoy, it’s worth talking to them about how much time they’re spending on social media.
Help Raise Aware(ness) of Mental Health Issues in Children & Adolescents
Overall, social media can have positive and negative effects on children, and understanding the pros and cons of it and how it can affect your children is important. Aware’s goal is to raise awareness of mental illness in children and young adults – here’s how you can help: https://awarenyc.com/partner/