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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

KidsMatter 2 Us – Social media usage and its effect on youth mental health

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Steps for addressing social media at home

Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram … these are names of popular youth social media platforms that were never in our mainstream conversations, even as recently as five years ago. But, for today’s youth, these platforms are top of mind, on a daily basis, at an alarming level. Notably, social media usage is nearly universal among today’s adolescents with approximately 95% of youth aged 13-17 participating on social media platforms, with an alarming one-third of these saying they use it constantly.

In May of this year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an important new health advisory on the effects that social media use has on youth mental health outlining the benefits and the risks. The advisory indicates that there is growing and clear evidence that social media can harm the health and well-being of children and adolescents whose brains, at a very critical stage of development, are much more vulnerable to harms from social media.

Dr. Murthy’s advisory urges policy makers, technology companies, researchers, families and youth to gain a better understanding of social media and its effects.

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According to Dr. Murthy, “Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too many children, social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends. We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.”

The Surgeon General’s Advisory offers recommendations that parents and families can do to maximize the benefits while limiting the harms from social media platforms. The steps include:

  1. Create a family media plan. Set agreed upon expectations and healthy tech boundaries at home.
  2. Create tech free zones and encourage in-person friendships.
  3. Model responsible behavior.
  4. Teach kids about tech and empower them to be responsible participants online.
  5. Report cyberbullying, online abuse, and exploitation.
  6. Work with other parents and families to help establish shared norms and best practices for establishing healthy social media use.

KidsMatter supports the Collaborative Youth Team, a group of 36 organizations that work with youth and families in our area. Together we are studying the effects of social media and phones and will be developing a community-wide plan that will be used to increase awareness, stimulate discussion, and facilitate action to improve the health and well-being of children, youth and families.

For more details on the Surgeon General’s Advisory, visit www.hhs.gov.

Editor’s Addition / The Empower Gala, hosted by KidsMatter, is Friday, October 20, 2023, at The Matrix Club. At 6PM the cocktail reception begins, followed at 7PM by dinner, program, music, dancing as well as live and silent auctions.

The day of Empower Gala, October 20, is National Youth Confidence Day. Help KidsMatter celebrate this day designed to inspire youth to be confident of their abilities by encouraging them to pursue their dreams., recognizing their potential and power. 

The Matrix Club is located at 808 S. Route 59.

For more information about the Gala, click here. Individual tickets are $175.

Thanks for all interest.

 

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Nina Menis
Nina Menis
Nina M. Menis serves as CEO & Executive Director of KidsMatter. Nina grew up in Naperville and enjoyed raising a family in Naperville. Nina has worked in advancement for both public and private P-20 educational institutions and area nonprofits for more than 30 years. Contact Nina (pronounced nine-eh) at nina@kidsmatter2us.org or (630) 864-3974.

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