While social media does offer benefits, there are indicators that it can also pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents as 95% of those aged 13 to 17 report using a social media platform, with more than a third saying they use some form almost constantly, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Bridgeway, Stacy Brown encourages parents to keep watch as teens are engaging in social media three to four hours a day:
“This is kind of a hard discussion because parents want their kids to be growing and independent and they don’t want their kids to feel like they are in all of their business, but sometimes it is necessary. I think if there is a good parent-child relationship, having your child’s passwords wouldn’t be an issue for them. If everything is on the up and up and they are using social media appropriately, it shouldn’t be an issue. It boils down to I think to communication. Are you talking to your kids? It is hard to have difficult conversations and now social media is becoming a difficult conversation, but we have to have them and we have to talk to kids about what is safe and how to keep yourself healthy.”
Bridgeway offers both Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid education programs to teach individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and even substance use disorders.