In this episode of Therapy Show, I discuss the impact of social media on mental health, particularly for teens and preteens. I highlight an article by Jean Twenge and Jonathan Haidt, which argues that the rise in teen depression rates coincides with the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media. The Surgeon General's Office also released a report highlighting the association between social media use and harm to young people's mental health.
I emphasize the importance of setting limits and rules around phone and social media use for children, as each family's approach may differ. As parents, it is our responsibility to put things in place that limit the amount of time our kids are spending on their smartphones and social media. I also share my personal experience of taking a digital detox and the benefits of disconnecting from social media.
A digital detox refers to intentionally taking a break from electronic devices and screens, creating a designated time and space for individuals and families to disconnect and focus on activities that promote quality time and connection. Digital detoxes provide an opportunity for families to reconnect, communicate, and engage in activities that foster meaningful connections.
I also highlight the benefits of taking regular breaks from screens, including better communication and bonding, improved mental health and well-being, and increased creativity and imagination.
Better Screen Time suggests that parents of teens should use a slow and phased process with personal devices and smartphones and delay social media for as long as possible, reinforce positive choices and use poor ones as an opportunity to teach and connect, and create boundaries that work for your teen. For preteens, parents can reinforce family values and help children identify personal values, provide opportunities for children to pursue personal passions, build skills, and learn to unwind without a screen, and teach valuable tech skills such as typing, coding, graphic design, art, learning a skill online or connecting safely with friends and family on a family device.
To prevent society's mental health crisis, let's let our kids be kids a little longer. Delay the smartphones. Delay social media. Give your family a digital detox.
See the article here: https://jonathanhaidt.substack.com/p/social-media-not-safe-kids
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