Social media use may lead to 'Facebook Depression' in children

Social media's impact on children

Social media may be more than just a distraction for your children. It may also be negatively impacting their mental health.

Research is both positive and negative, showing too much posting and scrolling could lead to depression. This trend is especially documented when children use social media as their main form of interaction instead of actual face-to face exchanges.

A new study published in the journal PLOS out of Hungary looked at nearly 6,000 adolescents. Almost 5 percent of them reported low self-esteem and depression when they had elevated social media use.

The study's authors recommend school-based prevention and intervention programs.

Seton's Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Julie Alonso-Katzowitz offered some more suggestions on how to combat the problem.

"Having family activities, family dinners where the phone is put away," she said. "Having those little conversations everyday with your kid and checking in with them and knowing where they are going and who their friends are in real life. And trying to monitor some of that online presence as well."

Why does this happen?

Doctors say sometimes the feelings are connected to jealousy. Children are not as good as adults in deciphering when a post is over-exaggerated, and that could lead them to believe that other people’s lives are more fulfilling, happy or exciting.

Alonso-Katzowitz also suggests starting the conversation at a young age. If you set rules about electronics early and when you need to change the rules you allow the child to be a part of the discussion, that will empower them to succeed and perhaps avoid "Facebook Depression."

(© 2017 KVUE)


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