Social media and teen mental health | What the Tech?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — The U.S. Surgeon General issued a strong warning to parents about the effects of social media on young people’s mental health.

Children are seeing things online they’re not necessarily supposed to, even when they’re not looking for them.

Bark’s new report on children and the content they see online found:

  • 88% of teenagers experienced violent subject matters
  • 82% of teens and 62% of tweens encountered nudity or sexual content
  • 66% of tweens engaged in conversations about alcohol and drugs
  • 64% of teens were involved in self-harm or suicidal situations

The surgeon general’s report puts the responsibility on parents and kids to avoid this type of content. The only way to do this is to prevent access to the devices. That’s what Titania Jordan, the Chief Parenting Officer at Bark, says, at least.

“It’s easier said than done when they and their friends already have access to Snapchat, Instagram online video games and other platforms. You do not have to give your child access just because all of their friends have it,” Jordan said.

It’s okay to delay, she points out. Often, parents will say they wish they would’ve waited to give their kids social media access, not the other way around.

While social media and online video games may pose a risk, there may be strength in numbers, parents say. We’ll talk about that another time.