Summertime leads to free time, down time, and screen time, which means now is a good time for parents of teens and preteens to talk to their children about phone use, social media habits, and boundaries.
Gerta Bardhoshi, professor of counselor education in the University of Iowa College of Education and director of research and training in the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health, shares concerns and provides suggestions for helping your kids develop healthier social media habits.
Q: What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of adolescents using social media?
Social media can indeed provide a powerful platform for social connection, support, and emotional intimacy for teens. Especially for teens who feel marginalized or are socially isolated, social media can provide newfound opportunities for positive interactions and a sense of community. For teens experiencing social anxiety, social media may provide opportunities for practicing and engaging in social interactions in a more controlled and less stressful format.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint specific apps or sites all kids should avoid, we do know that the amount of time spent on social media is linked to poorer mental health. The mood prevalent while using social media also seems to be key because adolescents who experience feelings of envy while scrolling through social media experience more negative emotional outcomes.