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Social Media – embracing the demon with our teenagers

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to a community audience about adolescent mental health for SAI Health Week. While my presentation was about signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in teens, the part of my speech that got the most attention was about social media, so I thought I'd share a bit about that here.

We all know that too much social media usage can be detrimental - and many of us know this from our own experience as well as hearing from the experts! I made the point that it's important to understand why your child uses social media, not just the amount of time they spend on it. For example, teens might use Facebook or Snapchat to keep in touch with their friends. They might use YouTube to further their enjoyment of a hobby or learn new skills. They might use Instagram to explore their identity. They might use TikTok to learn about fashion, music, or even mental health. Therefore, losing access to their phone or computer might simply mean no more Minecraft videos, but it could also mean losing touch with valued friends or missing out on group activities. If we as parents can understand the function of social media in our child's life, we will have a much better chance of negotiating reasonable limits.

Looking forward to another chance to communicate with the broader community about mental health, and thanks to those who came and asked questions!

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