Many teens show attitude in some way or another, right? Because they are unique, each teen shows and handles behavior differently. Some of them hate everything around them (parents sometimes receive the most of this hate); some go into their own shell and barely talk to anyone; some get frequent mood swings and get annoyed by everything (again, parents usually get the brunt of this annoyance); and some teens seem depressed all the time. This last one is the most dangerous, as you cannot always tell whether there is a particular reason your child is depressed, or if it is just the way he or she is handling adolescence.
But researchers have found that social media is a main cause of depression in teens today, and that young people who used social media more frequently had higher chances of suffering from depression.
Doctors say that there are many possible reasons teens can get depressed from using social media:
The illusion of a happy life
Take a look at what kind of pictures teens are posting. Most frequently it is happy moments of their lives — traveling, eating delicious food, meeting friends or attending some event. Seeing idealized representations of other teens can make your kid envious. Depression can be caused by the belief that other kids live a much happier life.
Social media is a well-known source of procrastination. When teens spend too many hours on it, idleness can set in and can begin to have a negative impact on mood.
Psychologists have been highlighting more and more cases of Internet addiction in teenagers. A big number of such cases is connected to using too many social networks too often. One of the signs of this addiction is depression.
Only one out of 10 kids who are cyberbullied tells their parents or teachers about it. And the statistical numbers concerning cyberbullying grow every year.
What to do
Parents naturally want to protect their children. And in the 21st century, this may need to include protection from the negative influences of social media, too. If your kids spend a lot of time on their social profiles (whether or not they show signs of depression), you probably need to do something about it in order to reduce the chances of negative consequences. Here are some suggestions:
Discuss it with them
They are your children. And social media is a big part of their lives. Become familiar with certain aspects of social media in order to be able to better relate to them. Be understanding in that some kids take virtual interactions much more seriously than they should. Lightly discuss things you see. Have conversations about the good and bad about social media. And it shouldn't be a one-time talk; have conversations about it on a regular basis. Be someone they can trust to be understanding and loving.
Offer healthy alternatives
Teens that have an active lifestyle tend to use social media less than others. Engage them in sports, art classes, etc. Spend more time as a family. Take trips, have family picnics or simply spend evenings together playing board games.
Asking kindly for a teen to limit social media use may not always work. Sometimes you need to take more strict measures. You can set some rules for social media usage. For example, your teens can check their profiles no more than three times a day, at certain times. You can actually control this by locking social apps on your teens' phones for certain hours. There is parental control software that can do it for you.
Doing something about excessive social media use is necessary. Treating it properly before it gets out of hand can help prevent depression in your teens. Talk to your kids and observe their behavior. If you notice that your teen shows any signs of depression, seek appropriate help.
Jana Rooheart is a professional blogger and e-safety specialist. She works for an app development company and raises a beautiful daughter. She has a Journalism degree she tries to learn something new every day.