Social media and anxiety: Three ways to protect your teen
Social media is a big part of many teenagers’ lives. It can be a fun distraction and provide a meaningful connection to family and friends, especially during a time of social distancing. But it can also have a negative affect. Geoffrey Williams, LPC/S, director of Prisma Health Behavioral Care Outpatient programs, offered advice on how to protect your teen.
“When you look at risk factors for depression, anxiety and other problems related to these, you’ll find heavy media use is one of the key risk factors,” said Williams.
Other risk factors are:
- Having poor structure to your day
- Poor diet and poor hydration
- Inadequate sleep
- Coexisting conditions
“What it’s hard to do, especially with certain age groups, is to convince them that they need to disconnect from the things that they feel like feeds their ability to manage. Even though it can be toxic, information can also feel soothing in the moment,” Williams said.
Williams offered ways you can help teens use social media responsibly. Consider these tips:
- Set reasonable limits. “You have to set some parameters for your child about when they cannot be involved in social media. Parents should try and decrease the dependence on the media tool and give it more balance.”
- Find other ways for them to connect with friends. “Make sure the child has some other avenues for connectedness and create some structure to that connectedness. Schedule regular activities, such as meal preparation or game playing.”
- Don’t micromanage. “Control the time frame your child can use social media, but don’t try to control literal content, because that’s a power struggle.”
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