Hi! My name is Margaret French and I’m a senior at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The subject of how social media affects the mental health of children and teens has been something I have curious and passionate about since middle school. As a teen I have experienced both positive and negative encounters surrounding social media, and I believe this has given me the ability to accurately and fairly discuss my topic with you.
Growing up in the era of social media has presented difficulties to future generations. Today, children and teens struggle to maintain a healthy balance with the amount of time they are spending on social media. We’d like to think that social media is a way of fulfilling our basic human need for socialization with others, but surprising is causing children and teens to feel more isolated than ever before.
After asking students from the ages of 12 to 18 how social media makes them feel these were the results:
What is social media addiction?
A social media addiction can be defined as an addiction to social media platforms to the point where it affects other aspects in your life. While it is not officially recognized as a disorder there is evidence to suggest that it is starting to impact children and teens heavily.
In 2016, The University of Pennsylvania created a case study called, “Association Between Social Media Use and Depression In Young Adults.” In this study, they found that “social media was significantly associated with depression.”
Recently, social media has been shown to hinder children’s ability to have face to face communication with others. This is said to be caused by the recent ability to talk someone via text or other social media platforms and say whatever you please whether nice or hurtful. Since face to face communication is a necessary ability to be able to talk to parents, teachers, peers, and future employers, the concern for the youth of this generation should run high.
Above is an infographic created by Common Sense Media showing the total amount of hours today’s tweens and teens use. This has become the new norm for Gen Z and will continue if we do not do something about it.
Now that you’ve read more about the possible affects social media could have on the youth of this and other generations, be aware of the your screen time and the amount of screen time those around you use. Whether it’s you, your niece or nephew, a younger cousin, or just a friend it is important to promote healthy habits for social media.
How you can start:
Try and limit your daily amount of screen time. You could even make it into a game with your family for more motivation.
For parents, it’s important to manage the amount of time your kids are using social media. Easy ways to do this are:
Giving them a certain amount of hours they can spend on their phones. (60 to 90 minutes is suggested)
Don’t let them go to bed with their phones.
Try and lessen their phone usage while doing homework, while this can promote a skill for multitasking it’s still distracts them from their work.
When your babies or toddlers are bored don’t always just give them your phone to play games. The less they use the devices at a young age the less likely they are to become dependent from social media platforms.
For more helpful resources:
Visit Common Sense Media:
The link to Common Sense Media is:
OFFTIME : OFFTIME is an app that helps filter distractions on your phone. You’re able to track your daily phone usage and it has different modes you can put it on so that you can use the apps you need but don’t get distracted by the ones you don’t.
Forest: When you open the app you plant a seed and start to grow a tree. The longer you stay on task, the bigger the tree becomes.
Moment: Moment lets you track your daily phone usage and can set limits for your device. Also, Moment has a tracking ability. So, for parents this could be useful.
What are some fun activities you could be doing instead of sitting on your phone?
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