SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – This week on Kids Under Construction, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with ABC4’s Emily Clark about the announcement of Facebook delaying the “Instagram Kids” app.
Facebook will be pausing the planned debut of “Instagram Kids” after immense pushback from parents and child advocates. Facebook has come under fire by lawmakers over the impact its platform Instagram can have on the mental health of American youth.
A new study by the Wall Street Journal cited the toxic effects Instagram has on young users including heightening mental health issues, anxiety, and body image issues.
“It perpetuates the myth that external things make us happy,” says Tetreault. “So we as adults can look at Instagram and see all these great vacations and if it can bother us as adults, what is it doing to a teen brain?”
Tetreault says it’s important to address the issues of social media with your child to ensure they’re engaging with Instagram in a healthy way.
So how can parents remove the threat of social media when children are so consumed with it?
Tetreault says It’s important to understand social media will not go away — it’s essential to how kids today connect with each other. Addressing social media issues isn’t about banning it outright — it’s about ensuring your child has a healthy relationship with it.
It’s important to monitor what your child consumes, especially younger ones. “Even if your child doesn’t want it, that’s just part of being a parent,” says Tetreault.
But it’s about balance, too. Tetreault says keeping an open line of communication about how social media makes them feel after using it and the kinds of content they consume will allow children to feel comfortable with these ideas.
“It’s not that we don’t trust them, it’s that we don’t trust what’s going on with social media,” says Tetreault.
To see the full conversation about embracing healthy social media habits, watch the full conversation above.