Experts say that while social media can have a positive effect on children, spending too much time in front of screens can definitely have some negative effects as well.
Corpus Christi, Texas – Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok and Twitter are just some of the social media apps that teens can access every day.
“Social media is a really important part of many of our teens’ lives, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” said Adkins Middle School counselor, Kaitlyn Wagner.
Wagner says social media has its advantages.
“It can provide some positive peer interaction,” Wagner said.
According to Wagner, studies have shown that spending a lot of time in front of a screen is not a good thing.
“Increasing the time our students spend on social media has a negative impact on their mental health, particularly in conditions such as depression and anxiety,” Wagner said.
Some parents agree, making sure their kids realize that not everything on the internet is as positive or as it seems.
“The things that happen there aren’t things we do in real life, it’s all pretty much fake that they want attention,” said Melissa Walker’s mother.
Wagner says they do their part in class to help students make sure they use social media appropriately.
“We are constantly educating students about appropriate uses of devices as devices are used regularly in the classroom now,” Wagner said.
They also provide resources for students who may feel those negative effects of social media.
“We work with students in counseling lessons on how to teach them social skills and emotional coping skills and we also have more support available for students who need more intervention,” Wagner said.
Outside of the classroom, Wagner says it’s important for parents to set limits when it comes to swiping on their phones or tablets.
“There are a lot of apps and settings available for parents to make it easier to set health parameters on a student device,” Wagner said.
Encourage parents not only to monitor their children’s use of apps, but also encourage them to hang up and hang out.
“We also recommend spending completely disconnected days, and days where your family engages in non-contact activities, such as playing board games, getting outside, working out, and reading,”
Wagner says it’s very important for parents to monitor their children’s behaviour, such as social isolation.
“If you see your pupil who was once a very extroverted and involved student really isolating themselves at school and at home, please reach out to your school counselor or have a meaningful conversation with the student,” Wagner said.
Wagner adds that it’s also important to pay attention to your child’s academic success.
“When you see a big change in their grades, their attitude toward school or schoolwork, maybe we need to have conversations about how they use their media or how things that happen in their lives affect them mentally and emotionally.”
Wagner says if you notice any of these things, reach out to a counselor at your child’s school.