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Excessive Social Media use tied to suicidal thoughts in teens

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Teenagers use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat with ease, and they use them a lot. But how much is too much?

According to a new Canadian study, teens who frequent these social media sites are more likely to have mental health problems. The study shows that kids between the ages of 12 and 17 with poor mental health use social media more than two hours per day. They reported these teens to have “psychological distress, suicidal thoughts and an unmet need for mental health support.”

The authors of the study out of Ottawa, Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga and Dr. Rosamund Lewis, say they did not prove that social networking sites will always lead to poor mental health, but they say that greater exposure could lead to more opportunities for things like cyber-bullying.

Their results also showed that depression in high school students was prevalent, but there wasn’t a similar correlation for college students. This difference is why the authors are encouraging parents to “be more aware of the pitfalls of social networking sites and actively engage with young people in making it a safer and enjoyable experience for them.”

They also suggest parents should recognize excessive amounts of social media use as a risk for mental health problems with their teens.

Teen expert and youth advocate, Kacee Bree Jensen, will be on KCPQ This Morning Tuesday, August 4. She will be sharing her tips on how to monitor your teens use of social media and popular cell phone apps.

Jensen says to keep these things in mind if you have a teen or child who uses social media:

  • Be aware of what your child is ready for
  • Teach character on and off their devices
  • Set up appropriate settings on your child's device
  • Monitor your child's activity
  • Include gaming systems in your monitoring
  • Educate yourself on the current Social Media sites
  • Watch for inappropriate contact
  • Explain the “why” you have rules on what your kids can't do on their devices

Here’s a list of popular monitoring tools Jensen recommends:

For a 33% discount off services from TeenSafe.com use the discount code KaceeBree.