Social media is a tool, but sometimes it can be used the wrong way. Ganel-Lyn Condie joined us to discuss the impact social media can have on teens’ mental health and what you can do to limit the damage.
Social media can contribute to anxiety and depression. With increased online interactions, teens may not have the skills to make connections face-to-face. It is also very easy to become addicted to social media through chronic use. Ganel-Lyn explained that every time we receive a ‘like’ on a post it triggers a dopamine hit. That rush quickly fades though and we are left searching for the next one.
Social media can also have a negative impact on self image and create a false sense of expectation. As you scroll, your subtle sense of well-being decreases. We have a tendency to compare ourselves to others, which may lead to a distorted body image or a fear of missing out.
If you see your child withdrawing, Ganel-Lyn suggests that you be upfront with them and admit that you see a problem. Ask your child how you can support them. There are also concrete action steps you can take to combat this digital depression:
- Create digital free zones at home, such as during dinner time or one night a week.
- Have a “bed time” for phones and other devices.
- “Dumb” phones (without apps) for teens that are in high risk zones or seasons of depression, anxiety or addiction.
- Foster in-person connections. You could host a girl’s night, go for a hike or roller skating for example.
It is important to make sure that your child knows their worth is not based on the number of likes or followers they may have, and that they have a place of belonging in your family no matter where they are in life.
To find more resources from Ganel-Lyn you can visit ganellyn.com.