Social media and mental health; excessive use linked to teen depression

Social media and mental health; excessive use linked to depression in kids
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 7:38 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - With over 1 billion users worldwide on the social media app, Tiktok’s popularity is undeniable. But that popularity has also been shadowed with criticism; the latest being concern about the app’s impact on mental health, particularly with kids. Experts at Reno Behavioral Health sat down to help us understand the issue.

“What we see often now is kids are excessively on social media,” said Flanna Jammerman, LCSW, Executive Director of Clinical Services at Reno Behavioral Health.

Moreover, most TikTok users spend a daily average of an hour and a half on the platform, according to a report published by CNN this week.

“When we’re on social media, we are just seeing the highlights of what people are presenting of their life, not seeing the struggles we all face as human beings. That leads to an unrealistic perception of what our life should look like or what our appearance should look like,” said Jammerman.

She added that exposure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth for anyone, especially impressionable kids and teens, which is why experts are cautioning parents to look out for these warning signs of mental health decline.

“If they are isolating themselves that is a huge warning sign. If kiddos are really not wanting their parents to see what they’re doing online, that’s a huge red flag because a lot of times kids are putting stuff out on the internet that they really shouldn’t put out there and it puts them at a higher risk to be victimized.”

Jammerman says these social platforms and their trends make it easy for kids to feel pressure to participate in order to not feel left out.

“Social media does provide an opportunity to build connections with people but those connections are often surface level, and so kids will often isolate themselves from real connections in their life to form these kind of false connections. And the less face-to-face connections we have with our friends and our family, the greater our risk is for depressive episodes,” she said.

Some signs of depression to look out for include, but are not limited to, excessive crying, anxiety, or being overly concerned with what others are doing. To learn more about mental health resources available through Reno Behavioral Health, click here.