Mental Health & Social Media

According to Every Mind Matters “as many as 1 in 4 of us experiences a mental health problem.” It can be hard for your child to maintain a balanced life as they have to deal with a lot of pressures. Pressure in your child’s life can come from a number of areas. Research conducted with teens and adolescents have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, hyperactivity and lack of attention. The studies conducted are usually of an observational or correlational nature, this means they don’t establish whether or not one is causing the other. Being aware of what if affecting your child’s mental health can help you understand where help or support could be needed.

Social Anxiety Disorder 

Social anxiety disorder (also referred to as social phobia) is a mental health condition. It is an intense, constant fear of being watched and judged by others, it can also be linked to social comparison theory. This fear can affect school, day-to-day activities and also their social media use. Depending on your child there are some signs and symptoms you can look out for. If your child has been experiencing the symptom below for at least six months and these feelings make it hard for them to do everyday tasks such as talking to people at work or school they could potentially have a social anxiety disorder.

  • Is your child extremely afraid of being judged by others on or offline?
  • Is your child self-conscious in everyday social situations?
  • Do they avoid meeting new people?

Find out more about social comparison theory.

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Depression

Scientists have found that scrolling through Facebook can leave people feeling miserable afterward. Social media can create loneliness and loneliness can affect your child both on and offline. Even though your child may have a lot of friends, people around them or be deemed to be popular online they can still feel isolated. A study published in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology has concluded that there is a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness.

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Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms such as forgetfulness, fidgeting, inattentiveness and impulsiveness. Journal of the American Medical Association published a journal stating that  “More frequent use of digital media may be associated with development of ADHD symptoms.” The research indicated that the distraction and immediate satisfaction it gives could be aggravating the disorder.

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