What are you doing to mark World Mental Health Day?
As the theme of the day is young people and mental health in a changing world, we spoke to BACP member Chloe Goddard Mcloughlin about the impact of social media.
Chloe, of Ranmoor Therapy, told us: “It can be worrying for parents when their children are retreating into social media, going online and locking the door.
“The questions that need to be asked are - why are they doing this? What are they trying to hide from? What feelings are they staving off?
“Whereas past generations could switch off after school, have other distractions and time out to reflect, with social media there is no let up. Things that happen at school, be it conversations, bullying or comparisons continue.
“There’s no doubt that social media connects people often instantly in a way that was previously unimaginable for those who grew up in a pre-internet world.
“There needs to be a balance and appropriate measures put into place to limit the amount of time spent online, so that no-one feels deprived.”
Impose limits: Ban the use of phone at the dinner table or in the bedroom at night. Model the importance of safe boundaries and self-regulation.
Be aware of what your child is accessing online: We wouldn’t allow a young person to drive a car without knowing the dangers of the road, yet we allow our children to go online with the risk that they could stumble upon disturbing or violent content.
Talk more: It’s easier to retreat behind a screen than face up to the everyday difficulties of life. But if we create a space at home where opinions and doubts can be aired, and accommodations can be reached, we are modelling the core skill of empathy and negotiation to young people.
Do more: It seems obvious but the more meaningful interaction we have with people in the non-virtual world the more nourished and resilient we feel. It could be playing sport, having a coffee with friends or walking the dog.
Turn off notifications: This stops the desire to immediately respond which can alleviate the pressure kettle feeling and the need to constantly be connected online.