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Here is the one thing that has been noteworthy for parents of preteens these days; many of the people who work in IT for big social media companies like Facebook and Snapchat and are parents themselves are among the most strict and unaccommodating when it comes to keeping their kids off social media. That has to be very telling, and the negative effects of social media on mental health for some people – children, adolescents, and adults alike – is something that is a very real concern these days. Social media and depression especially, and depression medication use is up in young adults.
Social media app use is not the exclusive reason for that, but it is playing a significant role. 78% of young people between the ages of 16 to 24 say they are on social media for more than one hour every day, and more than half of that same age group said they would estimate spending upwards of two hours on their social media apps. While social media isn’t a bad thing necessarily, there are many people me who are quite happy that there were no smartphones or social media when they were in their late teens.
And, quite naturally, a lot of people in that age bracket have young kids or teenagers. As the negative effects of social media on mental health for teenagers seems to be where it is most pronounced there are going to be many parents who’ll be wondering what is the best way to allow teenagers some social media. While still making sure it doesn’t become a harmful influence in their lives or lead them into a life of wild, sleazy degeneracy. There are also parents who have concerns that social media will lead their children to become ‘woke’ and all the many problems that come along with that.
One reality around negative effects of social media on mental health is it is nearly impossible to keep young people off social media entirely. And there are positive effects of social media on mental health, and the most obvious one would be how it allows people to stay intimately in touch with friends or family who are living in other parts of the world. There are plenty of other examples how social media isn’t all bad, but what most experts would tell parents is that you need to be proactive as in making them see the value in not being on it so often. Easier said than done, and maybe even more so for kids with ADHD.
What you need to at least try to do is making kids aware of the dangers of social media. There are ways to do that without sounding preachy. The idea of a social media contract with your kids - where you agree to let them use it if they agree to use it in certain ways – is a good one. The next consideration around negative effects of social media on mental health is that you need to make sure they have lives that feature plenty of ‘healthy distractions’ that will have them putting down the phone for long periods of time.
Being out of the home, being active and being challenged in activities makes for kids that are less prone to negative effects of social media on mental health. And a part of this is they tend to develop like-minded friends at a very influential time in their lives.
Young people may be more at risk because of social media, but it can be bad for adults too. Research has shown that people with addictive personalities tend to be more active with social media. Others without that type of personality may still use social media but tend to be ‘browsers’ rather than people who became very wrapped up in it. The good thing is that as an adult most people will have the restraint necessary to cut back on social media if they know it’s taking a mental toll on them. At the same time, you want to make sure positive effects of social media on mental health don’t have you using it too much.
The last thing we’ll say about negative effects of social media on mental health is that it can create unrealistic appearance and attractiveness ideals for both women AND men and this is again something that is much more pronounced for young people. Go ahead and take advantage of the connectiveness it offers but be aware of the negative effects of social media on mental health.