Experts Warn of the Danger of Social Media for Children’s Mental Health

SPAIN — An increasing number of studies suggest that social media have a negative impact on the mental health of minors, which has led to concern among specialists and Christian parents.

Christian families are showing concern about the adverse consequences that social networks are having on new generations. Young people are facing an increase in mental health problems that could be related to the time they spend on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, among others.

Control centers and disease prevention inform that more than 44% of high school students who said they felt hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row. At the same time, teenagers spend more and more time on social media, and almost half claim to be almost constantly online, according to the Pew Research Center.

Dr. Silvia Alava, clinical psychologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, addresses the issue in her YouTube video entitled “How Social Media Affects Adolescence”.

Dr. Silvia Alava:

In adolescence, we have to be careful with the use of social media. Why? Adolescence is a critical period for the formation of identity. And in this comes into play the self-concept, which is that image that we all have of ourselves.

In the current digital era, children have access to an unlimited amount of information and entertainment through social media.

Although these platforms can have certain benefits, such as the connection with friends and distant family members, also present a series of dangers. From online harassment to inappropriate content exposure, social media can seriously harm children’s mental and emotional health.

From a Christian perspective, social media can be considered even more dangerous. The Bible teaches us that we must protect our minds and hearts from negative and dangerous influences. In Filipenses 4. 8, we are encouraged to think about true, noble, fair, pure, kind and worthy things.

Social media, however, often expose us to the opposite, violent content, sexually explicit and unpleasant. In addition, social media can promote a culture of comparison and envy. Children may feel that they are not good enough, attractive or popular compared to their online friends, which can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.

The Bible teaches us to be happy with what we have and not to compare ourselves with others.

Sisto Porras, Director of Focus to the Family, exposes it in his YouTube video entitled “The networks are going to destroy youth.”

Sisto Porras:

It is important that parents are informed about the use of social media and take measures to monitor and limit the time that minors spend online.

It is essential that children are educated about the risks associated with social media and that they are encouraged to talk to their parents if they are experiencing online difficulties.

Jant Benge, psychologist and researcher, gives some recommendations in her TEDx talk entitled the generation of the smart phone.

Jant Benge:

Use your phone for all the great things that it can do. For one or two hours a day, and then go and live your life. Go for a run or a swim. Go out in the sunset. Get some sleep. Go see your friend. Not on Snapchat, but in person. Watch the expression on your friend’s face. Hear how different they are. In short, let the phone be a tool you use, not a tool that uses you.

By fostering an open communication culture and limiting online time, it can help protect mental health and the well-being of children and teenagers in an increasingly connected world.

Read more news on Social Media on Missions Box.

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