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Ways to Protect Your Teens from these Addictive Apps!

Just How Impactful is Social Media on Teenagers?

Social media is everywhere. It is a big part of the younger generation’s lives. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey of 750 13 to 17-year-olds found that 45% are online very frequently. 97% use social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Keeping this data in mind, it is important for parents to understand the impact social media has on teenagers.

How Harmful Social Media Is

Social media has been proven to affect teenagers’ attention span, sleep quality and mental health. This digital environment exposes them to cyberbullying, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and peer pressure. The risks are linked to how much teenagers use these addictive apps. A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12 to 15-year-olds in America found that those who spend more than 3 hours a day using social media are at heightened risk for mental health problems. Other studies have revealed a link between high levels of social media use and depression and anxiety symptoms.

Another noteworthy point: social media feeds on teenagers’ habits of comparison. An older study revealed that the longer teenagers’ used Facebook and Instagram, the stronger their belief that others were happier and better off than they were. The more time teenagers’ spent away from these apps, the better they felt.

How to Protect your Teens from the Dangers of Social Media

  • Set time limits: Have a conversation with your teen and agree on a time where they will stop using social media and focus on another activity instead. For example, They check social media once they have finished their homework in the evening and once again when they have brushed their teeth at night. Set an example by following these rules yourself. After a few weeks, check in with your teen and find out how much their mental wellbeing has improved and how much more focused they are.

  • Explain what not to do on social media: Discourage your teen from bullying, gossiping or spreading rumours online or offline.

  • Encourage activities that keep them away from electronics: By encouraging activities such as reading, crafts, going outside, or engaging in physical activity of their choice, your teen will have a more well-rounded daily routine.

If you think your teen is experiencing signs or symptoms of anxiety or depression related to social media use, talk to your teen’s health care provider!

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