When raising a teenager, monitoring their emotional health is crucial. With teenagers potentially spending hours a day on social media apps, their mental health may be negatively impacted. But how can you tell if they are experiencing depression and should seek the expert opinion of a therapist? If you’re concerned that your teen is exhibiting symptoms of a mental health disorder that could be linked to social media usage, take a look at the following guide.
Does Social Media Use Impact Mental Health?
Social media has the power to help people connect with friends and family all over the world, but it can become all-consuming, leading to negative feelings in teens. Social media picked up momentum in the early 2000s with the development of networking apps. This was also when therapists noticed an increase in cases of teenagers with depression and anxiety. Statistics show that between the years of 2005 and 2017, there was a 52% increase in instances of depression among 12- to 17-year-olds.
What Is the Correlation Between Social Media & Depression?
Social media opens your child to a world of constant communication with friends, peers, and strangers alike. The more time they spend on these apps, the less face-to-face interaction they have, leading to isolation and a decrease in social skills. Additionally, these apps create a platform for cyberbullying. With the simple touch of a button, any comment, opinion, or view can be expressed—often without consequences.
What Can Parents Do?
When it comes to your teenager’s mental health, keep an open line of communication. While restricting all access to social media apps is typically unnecessary, monitor your teen’s activity and remind them that they can trust and talk to you. Teach your teen how to regulate their usage and content of social media. Additionally, if your teenager begins exhibiting symptoms of depression—such as withdrawal, moodiness, or feelings of hopelessness—visit a therapist to have them evaluated.
If social media or cyberbullying is impacting the mental health of your teenager, talk to Colleen Torrence, MEd, LPC in Juneau, AK. With more than 15 years of experience in counseling adolescents, your teenager will find the support they need. To learn more about this therapist, visit her website or call (907) 789-9212.