SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The impact social media can have on kids’ mental health is prompting many school districts to sue these platforms.
Social media – it’s a big part of many kids and teens’ lives. But spending too much time online could be dangerous.
“There are a number of negatives that certainly have been focused on recently specifically increased vulnerability, privacy issues all of those negatives that we’re becoming more aware of,” said Dr. Anne Reagan, pediatric psychologist at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
An ongoing problem school districts are seeing across the country, and locally, with a number of districts suing tech giants like TikTok, Meta, and Google. It’s all part of a class action lawsuit, the suit claims the companies are causing emotional distress among students and are aware of the issue, but not doing anything to fix it.
“Psychologists in general across the field want to support any opportunity for schools to decrease students’ use and exposure of social media during the school day,” said Dr. Reagan.
But using social media outside of school is also a concern for parents, worried about the affect it could have on their child’s mental health. Dr. Reagan says it all starts with an open conversation.
“What is the purpose of the usage of electronics and social media, what expectations, what are some healthy boundaries,” said Dr. Reagan.
If you think your child may be struggling but doesn’t want to tell you, there are warning signs to look for.
“Changes in the child’s behavior, a child that was previously outgoing and engaged with social groups and activities, somebody no longer wanting to do those,” said Dr. Reagan.
Being withdrawn or showing negative emotions are also warning signs.
Dr. Reagan says there isn’t a specific age when it comes to social media use. It all depends on maturity and parental guidance.