What Toll is Social Media Taking on Today’s Teens?

Snapchat. Instagram. Google Hangouts. Facebook. There are endless ways for today’s teens to stay connected. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you social media plays a huge role in their teens’ lives. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing digital world and monitor all the social media platforms that are available.

Consider these statistics from a recent survey by Common Sense Media:

  • 89% of teens have a smartphone.
  • 70% of teens use social media several times a day.
  • 57% of teens agree using social media often distracts them when they should be doing their homework.
  • 54% of teen social media users agree it often distracts them from paying attention to the people they’re physically with.

The pressure to be available 24/7 on social media posting a status, a selfie, or checking likes and comments is a very real challenge for teenagers in this era.

Should parents be worried about the potential impact on their child?

Dr. Stephanie Eken, Rogers’ regional medical director and child and adolescent psychiatrist, says it’s important for parents to be proactive and intentional about the use of technology and recommends the following:

  • Evaluate your child’s maturity.
  • Insist on being friends with your child on social media.
  • Determine up front how much time your child can spend on technology.
  • Have an action plan for dealing with inappropriate or uncomfortable material.
  • Establish technology-free times and zones in your home.

Behaviors that could be cause for concern

If your child exhibits any of the following behaviors, it could be a sign to seek help:

  • Isolating more
  • Communicating less with parents
  • Increased irritability
  • Talking about self-harm
  • Avoiding activities they used to engage in
  • Spending excessive amounts of time on appearance for pictures to post on social media

How Rogers can help

From inpatient and residential care to specialized outpatient treatment, Rogers helps kids and teens rise above their mental health challenges. Call 800-767-4411 or request a free screening online.

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