There is a good reason to wean your child off social media or to cut back on their screen time. It has been shown that a rise in depression among teens and young adults could be linked to social media use.
We know that Black teens are online more than white teens. Being online more often can possibly put them at risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. This study found that teens in the United States reported more “mental distress, depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.” This number has risen significantly in the last 10-years. The results show that more girls (all races) are depressed more than boys. But we know that in the Black community the suicide rates for Black boys ages 15 through 19 have increased and is now closing in on white teens in the same age category.
“Black teens are online more than white teens. Being online more often can possibly put them at risk of depression..”
As parents, we can’t take it for granted that our kids are okay or that they are going to be fine. We have to ask them and keep an open conversation with them about what they are experiencing and how to manage emotions. Most of all, know when to get your child help.
Teens should not be connected 24/7 to their devices. Today bullying, even passive-aggressive “shade” can be relentless and non-stop because of smartphones, tablets, and computers, which keep teens connected to other students. If you don’t cut the connections, you don’t cut the bullying, which is known to lead to depression and suicide.
What is a parent to do to limit your teen’s screen time? Here are some ideas:
- Don’t let your teen take their devices to bed. Using a smartphone as an alarm clock is not an option.
- Have a central charging location for family phones.
- No computers in bedrooms, including laptops. Computers must be used in a central family area where they can easily be monitored.
- Take a 24-hour family break from electronics on the weekend.
- Do something with your teen like going to a movie theater, where you both don’t need your phones.