We’re being bombarded by disturbing news: the attacks in France, Orlando, San Bernardino, Brussels, and so many more. If you think you–the parent–are the only one reading about these events, you’re probably wrong. If your teen has any form of social media, they’ve probably heard about these awful events, too. CNN recently published an article discussing the harmful effect of social media on youth because of the relentless circulation of negative news.
The effect of social media on youth due to negative news
It’s difficult to avoid the effect of social media on youth nowadays. Basically every child over the age of 14 has access to some type of social media, whether it’s through a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other technology. Now, with this flow of bad news on all social media, vicarious trauma is becoming a very possible effect of social media on youth. Experts disagree on the levels of severity caused by violent news, but it’s still possible and dangerous.
Vicarious trauma a real possibility
CNN interviewed Dr. Pam Ramsden, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bradford in the UK, who has had immense experience with the effects of negative news. She says, though not a specific diagnosis, vicarious trauma can escalate to issues like post-traumatic stress. It may sound ridiculous at first, but you can probably bring to mind a piece of footage or a picture from the media that’s stuck in your head. It’s just that amplified.
The individuals that really struggle with this often engage in obsessive consumption, like re-watching a traumatic piece of video. This may cause extreme fear, making an individual act much differently. So how do you combat this type of trauma and anxiety as an effect of social media on youth? You limit it.
One of the only ways to help quell this anxiety and trauma surrounding bad news through social media is to limit yourself. I know, you’re thinking, “How do I get my teen to limit themselves?” Well, first sit them down and explain it to them, especially if they have been vocally expressing their fears due to recent negative events on the news. Next, there are ways you can shut off your teen’s phone after a certain time. Maybe no screens after 8PM would be a good rule. The important thing to do is to communicate with your teen and figure out the best schedule for the whole family.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.
For more information about how Solstice East handles issues related to the effect of social media on youth, please call 828-484-9946.