Let’s talk mental health. Social media use has become a staple in the way we function as a society. Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok are all common household names, and chances are someone in your family has an account on one or all of these social media outlets. There can be positives to social media use, it can connect us- especially during a time where we feel distanced from one another. However, it is important we understand that social media does not come without risks.
Social media is designed essentially, to be addictive, to catch the attention of its user and to keep it there as long as possible. Every text, email, tag, or like alerts our phone in an effort to bring our attention back to the device we just put down, and our children are becoming dependent on them. They are obsessing over how many likes they have on their posts, and knowing what products their favorite influencers are using. They are exposed to unrealistic expectations of what life as a teenager should look like and can be chronically disappointed when their life isn’t like the carefully curated snapshots they see on Instagram. Their minds and opinions are being molded by what they are exposed to on social media, information that may or may not be factual or authentic. They are weighing their own self-worth by comparing themselves to unrealistic beauty standards set by face shaping filters and photo shop. Alarmingly, we have seen an increase of pre-teen and teenage suicide attempts and admissions for mental health care that directly correlates to the introduction of social media.
Check on your kids. Ask the hard questions. See how they are feeling. Monitor their social media use. Discuss with them the dangers that come with a social media account. And before allowing your pre-teen to sign up for that Facebook account, consider watching the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” together. Get a conversation started about the risks that come with social media and what it means to use it responsibly. Consider creating a “Family Screen Time Contract” to set limits and expectations. Help them understand that everything they see online is not necessarily fact. And if something seems amiss with your child; if you are worried about their mental health, don’t hesitate to seek help! The providers here at Wilson want your children to have the best care possible and we are here to promote overall wellness- encouraging care for both their physical and emotional wellbeing.
About the Author:
Katie Rosenbeck is a dual-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Mental Health Specialist with Wilson Health Medical Group Pediatrics. Originally from Maria Stein, Katie attended The Ohio State University (OSU) where she received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing, as well as completed a Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences with a Minor in Integrative Approach to Health and Wellness from OSU. Outside of work, you will find Katie spending time with her husband and infant son, as well as her close-knit extended family.