A recent study published by Common Sense Media, a CA-based nonprofit that helps kids and families make smart media and tech choices, showed how much social media use has grown among teenagers over the past 5 years. (Link here)
As a mental health provider, Provident is particularly interested in how the increase is impacting young people emotionally.
The news is not all bad
- Teenagers report that social media helps them feel less lonely, depressed and anxious. They report feeling more confident, popular, and better about themselves.
- Many teenagers are using social media to stay connected with friends and family, get involved in philanthropic/political causes, enhance their creativity, communicate with educators, and meet others who share their interests.
Now for the challenging stats
- For teenagers who are already struggling with social-emotional wellbeing, it heightens their feelings of being left out, of feeling bad about themselves, and of feeling bullied.
- 35% of kids report being bullied at some point.
Provident helps the families and children they serve navigate social media in a healthy, productive way. A few tips:
- Social media isn’t going away, so better to help your child learn to manage it early. Every child is different, but 12-13 years old is the average age most begin pressing for their first account.
- Young people need insight on the consequences of broadcasting personal information. Talk to them about:
- How to maintain their privacy and protect themselves
- How to be respectful of others
- How to present themselves appropriately
- Parents need to understand that their role is to keep their child safe, but to do so from a distance that the child is comfortable with. Social media is not “spy software.”
- Develop a contract that outlines what both parent and child are comfortable with.
Click here to download a copy of our sample social media contract.