Social Media addiction and your teen’s mental health

Social media is a growing trend and a required skill in the 21st century. We live in a time when if a teen does not have an Instagram account, Twitter or Snapchat, they are automatically considered an outcast and looked down upon in one way or another. Because of the way these social media platforms have been designed, they are highly addictive. According to recent surveys it was understood that almost 90% of Facebook users felt that their day cannot start on a good note unless they check their public social profile. That trend is only growing among young people with other various platforms.

Parents tend to often overlook the very negative and diverse effects that these websites have on the mind and mental health of their children. Following are some of the many negative effects social media and its addiction has on people:

  1. When one person is posting everything they do on a daily basis on a public platform, it is easy for people to begin to form a comparison. People automatically begin to judge their lives with everyone else’s and often forget the difference between one’s actual life and their virtual life.
  2. Teens express that when their phones are taken away, they feel completely uneasy and anxious being unable to check their notifications on their social media platforms.
  3. When a lot of pictures are being turned into memes and humorous content, it is easy to make things that have a very serious connotation into something that is almost ridiculous. Further, pictures on social media can be made to look more glamorous and that comes with negative influences for young people.
  4. People get into a debate over perceptions and realities. If they do not get a lot of likes on a single picture they report feeling sadness, insecurity or loneliness. We are seeing this growing trend in our Digital World programs.
  5. It is true that social media has enabled connectivity and staying in touch with friends, but it has also made cyber bullying easy. People find it easier to mock and ridicule others from behind their screens. The number of suicides has dramatically increased ever since the use of social media has made it easier for people to hide, and still make people feel terrible about themselves, or worse, put out material or pictures to the world that were meant to be private.

These are the effects social media addiction has on people. It is important that technology is used in a balanced manner to ensure it does not influence one’s personality, feelings or actions in any negative way. Having open communication, talking with your children and being their number one resource is imperative to contributing to a healthy online social life.

Check out this video on how to stop the worst of social media: Link

Teen depression skyrockets and there is one common theme: Social Media

According to a recent national survey, between the years 2010-2015, the number of teens who felt useless and joyless surged 33%. Suicide attempts alone increased by 23%. These numbers are simply terrifying. After countless surveys, all of the results have one thing in common: a smartphone and the growth of social media. According to a recent poll, teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows.” Our goal in the Digital World program is to promote healthy online behavior and personal relationships, as well as talk to kids about the “reality” of the Internet, and how social media affects us both socially and emotionally, now and in the future. Take a look at Kids in a Cyber World for some quick facts about how fast social media has grown, and the ways the cyber world, left unchecked can impact youth development.

If you would like more information on this presentation or other Digital World programs send an inquiry to gpsempowered@gmail.com.

7th graders take a BIG risk to learn about STDs/STIs

Seventh graders across Geauga County are learning about some of the physical risks when teens choose to become sexually active as part of TPP’s Holistic Sexuality Education Program. If young people make the choice to become sexually active, and yes this includes oral sex, they could be a part of the statistic : One out of two people contract an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) or STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) by the time they are 25 years old. That’s 50%! When teens choose to have sex they also have a 33% chance of getting involved in an unwanted pregnancy by age 20. The seventh grade TPP program emphasizes the physical and emotional risks that teens take by choosing to become sexually active.

Even AFTER learning about several of the risks and consequences many students will still volunteer to participate in a “physical risk activity” called the Envelope Game, designed to teach students about STD/STI basics. In this activity student volunteers receive an envelope with various STD names sealed inside, with decorated, inviting and attractive pictures, colors or logos on the outside (get the idea?). They open them one at a time and  are often surprised and embarrassed to see and read aloud what they “got” in their envelope. They, and the class then get the opportunity to hear about the disease, the symptoms and possible treatment options. Many are shocked to learn that some STD’S are viral and cannot be cured, which means they will have them in some form forever!

Several students choose not to volunteer to play the game and remain 100% SAFE, the same as those who choose abstinence in real life. These students made the BEST choice, as part of of TPP’s signature decision ‘math problem’.

Students are encouraged to talk to parents about this activity and are assigned homework to help facilitate the conversation. Parents are the primary source of sexuality information for young people, believe it or not!

What do our students REALLY learn from TPP?

This past week our instructors were at Cardinal High School in Middlefield delivering the final lesson of our TPP program. We became curious about what exactly these kids retain during their years in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. We compiled a survey asking the kids that exact question…” what do you remember most from TPP over the last 6 years”? We were able to send this survey to them electronically through our new texting program called Simple Texting. The possible choices included various games we played, stories they heard, and the ‘face’ of TPP; BOB (Body on Board) shown below. BOB represents all the parts that makes us who we are, and most importantly how every decision we make can affect each part of us (or BOB in this case). Thanks to our survey, we learned that this fun but simple decision making tool stuck! BOB won with an overwhelming 32% of the votes. This is great news for all of us because it means that what we are doing is working! These young adults are retaining many of the skills and perspectives they get from TPP for several years, and remember the most important part of the program, BOB!!! Explore our website to learn more about Bob and other activities we do in the classroom!

 

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