As parents, it is essential to acknowledge and think about the impact of social media usage on our kids. The rise of social media has significantly impacted our children's mental health, and it's vital to understand the risks associated with social media and cellphone usage. Studies show that there has been an increase of 134% in anxiety and 106% in depression in teen girls since 2010.
This increase is primarily due to the rise of social media, especially Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Girls who use social media heavily are more likely to be depressed than those who use it lightly or not at all.
It's crucial to provide a safe and healthy environment for our children to develop their identity and form healthy relationships during adolescence, especially early adolescence. During this time, girls are seeking autonomy and increased commitment to social aspects of identity, along with greater needs for connection with their peers. It's crucial to focus on real-life interactions rather than online ones. Social comparison is worse on Instagram than on other apps but this is based on a study before TikTiok was so widely used. Girls who receive fewer likes on their posts can develop feelings of inadequacy, leading to low self-esteem and depression. Therefore, it is essential to set clear rules and boundaries for social media and cellphone usage.
When introducing a cell phone to your child, it's imperative to make a cell phone contract with clear rules and regulations, including consequences for breaking them. It's essential to have open communication with your child about the dangers of social media and cellphone usage. Proactive parenting is critical, and your contract should include language that aligns with your family's values.
Parents should delay entry to social media platforms until high school for developmental reasons. Adolescence is a critical time for many aspects of developing self and identity, including commitments, personal goals, motivations, and psychosocial well-being.
Social media and cellphone usage can have a significant impact on our children's mental health. Parents should set clear rules and boundaries for social media and cellphone usage and delay entry to social media platforms until high school for developmental reasons. Focusing on real-life interactions and providing a safe and healthy environment for our children to develop their identity and form healthy relationships is essential. Additionally, understanding the impact of cellphone radiation on our children's health is critical. Let's work together to create a healthy and safe environment for our children to grow and develop.
Here are some action items that you can consider after reading and reflecting on the conversation:
Lean into the topic of social media usage and cellphone usage: Take some time to learn more about the potential risks and benefits of social media and cellphone usage for children and teenagers. Educate yourself on the latest research and statistics related to mental health issues, self-harm events, and suicides among young people.
Consider delaying entry to Instagram or other social platforms until high school: Current experts highly recommend delaying entry to Instagram or other social platforms until high school, and 16 would be even better for developmental reasons. Early adolescence is a crucial time for developing self and identity, and social media can negatively impact this critical period of growth.
Use a flip phone for children under the age of 13 who need a cell phone for communication: If your child needs a cell phone for communication, consider using a flip phone instead of a smartphone. Flip phones do not have access to the worldwide web and social media, which can be dangerous for young children.
Create rules and regulations for cellphone usage and lay out consequences for breaking them: It is important to establish clear rules and expectations for cellphone usage, and communicate them to your child. Consider creating a cell phone contract that lays out the boundaries and consequences for breaking them. This proactive approach can help keep your child safe and ensure that they are using their cellphone responsibly.
Remember, you can always make changes and adjustments to your parenting approach at any time. The most important thing is to approach these conversations and decisions from a place of love and concern for your child's wellbeing. Take it one step at a time and don't be afraid to reach out for support if you need it.