SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTS ON TEENS
There is clear indication that the use of social media is impacting us all, but especially our children and youth. In this article provided by the CHILD MIND INSTITUTE, we have important and helpful information on how our teenagers are being impacted and what we can do to mitigate the harm.
The author, Rachel Ehmke, says in part:
“…adolescence is an equally important period of rapid development, and too few of us are paying attention to how our teenagers’ use of technology—much more intense and intimate than a 3-year-old playing with dad’s iPhone—is affecting them. In fact, experts worry that the social media and text messages that have become so integral to teenage life are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem.
Young people report that there might be good reason to worry. A survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health asked 14-24 year olds in the UK how social media platforms impacted their health and wellbeing. The survey results found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all led to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, poor body image and loneliness….
“As a species we are very highly attuned to reading social cues,” says Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and author of The Big Disconnect. “There’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills. In a way, texting and online communicating—it’s not like it creates a nonverbal learning disability, but it puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and even the smallest kinds of vocal reactions are rendered invisible.”…
But when friendship is conducted online and through texts, kids are doing this in a context stripped of many of the most personal—and sometimes intimidating—aspects of communication. It’s easier to keep your guard up when you’re texting, so less is at stake. You aren’t hearing or seeing the effect that your words are having on the other person. Because the conversation isn’t happening in real time, each party can take more time to consider a response. No wonder kids say calling someone on the phone is “too intense”—it requires more direct communication, and if you aren’t used to that it may well feel scary.”…
“It is the mini-moments of disconnection, when parents are too focused on their own devices and screens, that dilute the parent-child relationship,” Dr. Steiner-Adair warns. And when kids start turning to the Internet for help or to process whatever happened during the day, you might not like what happens. “Tech can give your children more information that you can, and it doesn’t have your values,” notes Dr. Steiner-Adair. “It won’t be sensitive to your child’s personality, and it won’t answer his question in a developmentally appropriate way.”