Delaying the use of social media

In a new study, Child Trends scientists wanted to find out how teens’ social media habits affect their mental health.

Researchers looked at 816 teens over 3 years. They found that teens, especially boys, who are already depressed were more likely to use social media to try to fit in, comparing themselves to others, and seeking feedback from their peers online.

Scientists say the findings suggest that social media offers an opportunity for depressed teens to engage in harmful behavior. Researchers suggest waiting until teens are mature enough to join a social media site. Some parents also choose to monitor a child’s social media activity with different programs or by keeping the computer in a central location. Also, educate your teen about what’s appropriate to post and the dangers of comparing themselves to others on social media.

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