If you have teenagers, you know the dilemma. How do we get them to make connections without a device?
- How do we keep the phone away from the dinner table?
- At what time should all devices be off in the home?
- Is there a good reason to allow my daughter to use Snapchat? Or Instagram?*
As someone who once conducted workshops on how to adopt social media, I feel it is my responsibility to now warn young people about the unintended consequences of trying to be ‘social’ via a screen. We don’t need research to tell us that a generation could be experiencing serious issues very soon if we thrust smart phones into their hands, and hope for the best.
This research just in: Mental health and Instagram.
Conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, it has young people using words like ‘fake,’ ‘intimidating,’ and ‘superficial’ to describe platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. The report explains how:
- Young people say that 4 of the 5 social media channels make their feelings of anxiety worse!
- A phenomenon called ‘Facebook Depression‘ which involves being ‘constantly contactable’ and having unrealistic expectations of reality. I had never heard of such a phenomenon, though suspected this existed.
- FoMo (Fear of missing out) is also a thing, and is another cause of distress, something adults are just getting to know about.
- There are indeed opportunities, despite the dire warning this report sends out.
* Not many young people realize that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp.