A recent study was completed by British researchers found that girl’s mental health is affected more than boys when they overuse social media. It was reported to The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health that girls suffering with poor mental health was linked to heavy social media use, with a combination of being exposed to cyberbullying, missing out on sleep or not getting enough exercise. Obviously, doing too much of anything can have a negative affect on your life, so it makes sense that the findings allude to “heavy social media use” can affect one’s mental health. Our youth are exposed to so much compared to that of when we were growing up. They have access to things that many people shouldn’t see until they’re of age to comprehend what it is, like porn or bad words.
The more kids are scrolling and comparing their lives to that of their peers the worse their self-esteem gets. Social media isn’t to be blamed for affecting our youth’s mental health. In fact, social media has become a tool in which therapists are able to create content to encourage and uplift people of all ages. #SelfCare and #MentalHealthAwareness have been trending all over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which helps support the narrative that social media isn’t the problem, but overusing it is! There’s no reason that a child should be laying in bed scrolling through millions of photos when they should be getting sleep. Cyberbullying is real, but parents/guardians have got to become more involved in their child’s lives to know what’s going on with them.
The study never mentioned how boys were affected my overusing social media as they probably are using these platforms the same amount of time that girls are. Jill Emanuele, senior director of the Mood Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York, told TODAY that the research had inconclusive findings for boys. She stated that in her experience, both girls and boys are affected by cyberbullying and inadequate sleep.
Furthermore, the best practices that parents can use to ensure that their children are their best selves mentally is to limit social media use as well as integrate a “NO PHONE BEFORE BED” policy. Instilling positive habits are essential to adolescents as everything they do in those years shape who they become as adults. Our children are our future!
Train up a child in the way he should go,
[a]And when he is old he will not depart from it.