Overuse of social media leading to mental health for kids: Study

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According to a recently concluded study, more than half of parents have identified mental health issues as their top health worry for their children and teens due to over use of social media and the internet. Mental, and emotional health concerns are top of mind

Overall, mental health and technology use topped this year’s top ten list of parent concerns about health-related issues for children as per the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, USA.

Two-thirds of parents are worried about children’s increased time on devices, including overall screen time and use of social media, taking the No.1 and No.2 spots on the list of children’s health concerns this year, according to the nationally representative poll.

“Parents still view problems directly impacting physical health, including unhealthy eating and obesity, as important children’s health issues. But these have been overtaken by concerns about mental health, social media and screen time,” said Mott Poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Susan Woolford, M.D., M.P.H.

“Children are using digital devices and social media at younger ages, and parents may struggle with how to appropriately monitor use to prevent negative impacts on safety, self-esteem, social connections and habits that may interfere with sleep and other areas of health,” Woolford said.

Screen time became a growing concern for parents during the pandemic, previous reports suggest. Woolford encourages parents to regularly evaluate their children’s use of technology and consider limiting use if they notice signs of unhealthy interactions or behaviours. Certain social media and device settings can also help protect kids.

The poll findings, which are based on 2,099 responses collected in February, also demonstrate parents’ continued concern about children’s mental health. The majority of parents view depression, suicide, stress, anxiety, and related topics like bullying as big problems.