Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Explores the Impact of Social Media on Students’ Mental Health
CLAYTON, GA, August 01, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Research on the impact of social media on children’s mental health is still sparse, however, a study published in Nature Communications, a United Kingdom-based publication, in March 2022 shows that children who increased their social media use have reduced life satisfaction. This research now confirms parents’ suspicions that social media is having a negative impact on their children.
The study indicates that girls can experience the impacts at an earlier age than boys (girls between the ages of 11 to 13, while it was noted more significantly in boys during the ages of 13 to 15). Both genders showed a decrease in life satisfaction associated with social media use at the ages of 19.
“While it is important to back up anecdotal experiences through research, parents know that social media is influencing how their children view their worlds and interact with their peers. The constant pressure to ‘perform’ can be overwhelming. Children then react and cope in a variety of ways while parents strive to protect or shelter their children from such pressures. It can create serious conflict in families,” explains Danielle Hava, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness.
“We know that social media can be helpful to some individuals in some contexts, but most importantly, we advocate purposeful and intentional use of all forms of communication,” adds Ms. Hava.
It is important for parents to recognize when the impact of social media is becoming too much for their children. Common signs of anxiety include sudden changes in behavior, withdrawal from routine social activities, mood swings, or in more extreme cases, self-harm.
“Our students frequently tell us that they are relieved to have the opportunity to be removed from social media. It can take them time to adjust, but after a few days or weeks, they realize the internal calm and self-confidence that comes with focusing their attention to their own thoughts, values and personal goals, rather than focusing on information or content others push on them,” shares Ms. Hava. “Our Field Instructors routinely report to us that there is a visible reduction of anxiety in our students as they immerse themselves in the calming effects of nature while disengaging from the stressful and distracting impact of social media.”
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness recommends intentional “down time” away from social media for all children and young adults. Removal of electronics from family time, whether it’s in an outdoor setting or not, promotes better communication and improves listening skills and empathy, which are essential tools for children to learn to be mentally healthy adults. If removal of electronics elicits a severe reaction of anxiety or depression in children, parents are encouraged to reach out to a mental health professional or pediatrician for counsel.
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for adolescents and young adults (13-29). Located in the mountains of the Chattahoochee and Nantahala National Forests, Blue Ridge and its program for emerging adults, Emerald Arrow, provides students and their families with the tools necessary to thrive and foster lasting, meaningful connections with themselves and each other. Visit www.blueridgewilderness.com to learn more.
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