Young people's mental health issues and social media use could b - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Young people's mental health issues and social media use could be linked

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The mental health of young adults and children is a major topic across the United States. 

Some experts are linking troubling issues, such as upward trends in depression and suicide, to excessive social media use. 

Experts say determining how much screen time is too much is still hard to determine, which is why it's critical to make a plan for your child's social media use. 

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are at the tips of children's fingers.

"Using social media's become so much more commonplace in our society." 

Dr. Susan Varady says it can be helpful because "maybe people who feel isolated can feel like they're connecting with others who might have similar problems." 

However, it can also be very harmful. 

"Unsupervised social media use by young people could be causing this uptick in mental health problems and even suicide...things can pop up on there that you aren't expecting, that you're not looking out for...it has also really increased bullying, cyber bullying...another issue with social media is just the flooding of images."

Varady says because adolescent brains aren't fully developed until people reach their 20's "there can be a lot of impulsivity."

That impulsiveness can lead kids to harm themselves and in some cases, others. 

"If we can prevent a trigger that could lead to something, an impulsive act, I think we will have really done our children a good service." 

There are some simple ways to prevent those triggers. 

"Exercise, team sports...once it's say 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock...phones need to be turned off, out of the bedroom...to have in person, authentic connections." 

The goal is to build resilience in the hopes that kids will be able to make better choices when faced with the screen. 

Varady posted about her interview with News 5 on Facebook. 

Parents commented with some saying, "I think a lot of our mental health problems are stemming from having smartphones too early and social media." 

Another posted, "Kids who are taught to use it well, to cultivate their own virtues through it, to explore the world, can make it useful."

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