Social media and teenagers

The positives and dangers posed by the online world to young people

Many adults link the rise in mental health problems amongst children to the use of social media. This has been reinforced by numerous newspaper and media headlines.

Yet it is really important to note that there is no reliable scientific evidence to support this link. Social media isn’t necessarily the issue - it can be a positive force for good when used intentionally and in moderation.

Parents and carers can make informed decisions about what’s best for their children’s health and wellbeing by understanding the pros and cons.

The opportunities

Social media has brought our world closer together, offering rich possibilities for real-time connection and many ways to learn and have fun. There are lots of positives for young people. These include:

  • Networking and sharing information and experiences with friends
  • Instant access to information
  • A highly creative medium and gateway to the world
  • A way to meet new people and connect with like-minded peers
  • Access to the buying and selling of goods

The threats

The online world is vast, and it continues to expand at an incredible rate. With this growth comes a number of potential dangers to be mindful of. Threats to young people include: 

  • Access to pornography and ‘hateful’ content 
  • Gambling 
  • Online grooming and sexting 
  • Harassment, abuse and cyber-bullying

Supporting positive mental health

As adults, it’s important that we take time to understand the effect that social media use, and inhabiting an increasingly online world, can have on our young people’s mental health.

Many teenagers are vulnerable: they may be struggling with feelings of isolation, may have had to deal with difficult family situations, or may have experienced trauma in some form.

The online world can provide a much-needed outlet for teens; a safe place to turn to others for support and encouragement, and to share experiences. But it needs to be overseen.

Through open conversation and working together with our young people, we can set comfortable boundaries and build digitally healthy households.

 

Become a ‘digital role model’

Resources

Resource

Supporting a child with anxiety

A guide for parents and carers

View resource
Resource

Life after lockdown Wellbeing Action Plan

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been through enormous change and some of us may experience further uncertainty and change in the coming weeks and months

View resource
Resource

Supporting children returning to school (parents & carers)

Guidance for parents and carers on how to help your child prepare to go back to school

View resource
Resource

Coping with self-harm

This guide includes information on the nature and causes of self-harm and how to support a young person for parents and carers

View resource
Resource

Perfectionism

How to spot and respond to unhealthy perfectionism

View resource
Resource

Asking for help

Tips for young people on when it’s time to talk about their mental health, or if they want to help a friend

View resource
Resource

Social media and teenagers

A practical guide for parents and carers of teenagers on using social media

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Action Plan (child)

A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult times

View resource
Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers

This booklet aims to help recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Challenge activity pack (primary)

An activity pack for children, filled with fun activities following the Five Ways to Wellbeing

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Challenge activity pack (secondary)

An activity pack for young people, filled with fun activities following the Five Ways to Wellbeing

View resource
Resource

Warning signs poster

A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.

View resource
Resource

Depression booklet

Featuring useful facts, figures and information, this booklet also contains sources of help and what not to say to people experiencing depression

View resource
Resource

Parents guide to depression (Welsh)

This booklet aims to help parents recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

View resource
Resource

Coping with self-harm (Welsh)

A guide for parents and carers in Welsh

View resource
Resource

Supporting children & young people as they settle back into education

Ideas for parents and carers on how to support their children as schools reopen.

View resource

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