PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Snapchat, and more. All of these social media platforms have captured the attention of children, young adults, and adults across the United States.
“Social media is a part of most kids’ lives at this point at least, kids in adolescence,” Eileen Booth, Program Director of Family Services Life Management Center NW Florida, said.
But do these platforms do more harm than good when it comes to mental health? Because what we see on social media isn’t always what someone looks like in real life.
“They want to look like that or they want to be like that and they are trying to be something that is not real,” Booth said.
Not to mention with photo editing apps that are available you can change almost everything about your appearance.
“It was amazing what that app could do with my face and it did not look anything like me,” Booth said. “So that is what I am trying to teach kids now is, it looks like that to you on the screen but they do not look like that when they roll out of bed. They look just like you and me.”
Body image issues are not the only danger of the online world. Online bullying is another issue.
“When I was growing up you know bullying happened it was limited to the school. Now it can go viral and reach hundreds, thousands in minutes,” Booth said.
So as a parent what can you do to help your child?
“As a parent and as a mental health provider, I would recommend putting time limits on kids’ time on social media or on their devices. Putting them away at dinner time or at mealtime,” Booth said.
Even knowing what their passwords are can be helpful.
“It is not a popular opinion for kids but you have to know what they are doing,” Booth said.
For those who may be struggling mental health providers want to remind you of one of many tools that can help, positive self-talk.
“That is all about rewiring the thought process in your head. The self-talk that we all do and kids do it too to kind of re message to themselves that positive self-talks instead of the I can’t be like this person that I am seeing on social media,” Booth said.
So for a general rule of thumb to go by, limit your time online.
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