(ABC4) – More Americans than ever before have hopped on the social media bandwagon in recent years. According to Statista, over 70 percent of the U.S. population was holding some form of social media account by 2020.
Although there are both positives and negatives to social networking, experts at the Cleveland Clinic are encouraging parents to take precautions when it comes to their teenagers and sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
According to Joseph Austerman, DO, a psychiatrist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s, these platforms can be highly addictive for teenagers.
“Social media is designed at its core to be addicting. These billion-dollar companies that run these apps and develop them, actually employ psychologists and people whose whole job is to keep us engaged,” said Austerman.
The medical professional pointed out how excessive use of social media can take away from real person interactions, which play a role in both emotional and social development. However, Austerman additionally emphasized how these sites can offer teens an easy and immediate way to connect with other like-minded individuals from anywhere in the world.
For parents concerned with their teens’ social media activity, Austerman recommends limiting their daily social media use and monitoring which websites and apps they have access to. It may also be helpful to set rules with your teen, such as having their homework done before they can engage in screen time.
“Kids watch what we do and it’s really hard to tell a kid to be off TikTok or Snapchat when you’re sitting on your phone looking and scrolling through Facebook or some of the other apps that adults commonly use. And so you have to model good behavior as well,” he advised.