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Increased social media use linked to anxiety and depression in teens

Spending more than three hours on social media each day is linked to anxiety and depression in teens, according to a recent study.

Could time spent on social media have a negative impact on your teen’s mental health?

That’s what a study recently published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry suggests, finding that teens who are on social media over three hours a day are more likely to suffer anxiety or depression. That anxiety or depression can translate negatively, developing into aggressive behavior or social withdrawal.

“If a child is online, and they’re receiving negative comments or are being cyberbullied, they’re probably the least likely child to notice the impact it’s having on them,” said Lauren Roberts, a licensed counselor who sees patients in Huntsville and Birmingham. “When a child doesn’t know how to handle and regulate their emotions, then they are going to exhibit it in unhealthy patterns, often times.”

“Social media cannot cause a mental disorder or anxiety,” said Roberts.

Instead, Roberts says social media can have a negative or positive impact on young people. Some teens may be more likely than other teens to struggle with mental health as a result of frequently using social media. She says it’s important that parents observe their teen’s behavior as it relates to their screen time.

“If we can notice as parents that they’re becoming more irritated, frustrated, more aggressive, but all they want to do is get on their computer still, then we need to start discussing that,” she said.

Roberts encourages parents to have open and regular communication with their teens. Parents can also explore cognitive behavioral therapy — either individually or in a group session.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a personalized media use plan to help families use as a guide when it comes to balanced screen time. For more information, click here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/How-to-Make-a-Family-Media-Use-Plan.aspx

To inquire about a session with Roberts, click here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/alabama-counseling-and-consulting-services-llc-birmingham-al/305511?utm_source=PT_Psych_Today&utm_medium=House_Link&utm_campaign=PT_BalTopB_find

Click here to watch a WEB EXTRA of Roberts sharing conversation tips for parents with teens who may be struggling with anxiety or stress: https://www.rocketcitynow.com/news/licensed-counselor-shares-tips-for-parents-who-have-teens-dealing-with-anxiety-or-stress/