Grant says recognizing the signs of an unhealthy relationship with social media can help you address any potential mental health and wellness issues. “Teens with unhealthy social media attachments can become anxious, depressed, withdrawn, and in the worst but recently exposed cases, act out in self-harm behaviors or even become suicidal,” he said.
Grant says that it’s important to keep lines of communication open between you and your teen, particularly about any struggles on or off social media. This might be difficult and awkward. Grant suggests assuring your teen that you’re on your teen’s side and you’re always willing to listen and provide support.
“Then prove it by patiently listening and supporting them,” Grant said. “Ask considerate questions, be gentle when needed, and never diminish, shame, judge, or try to lecture them when/if they come to you with any struggle they may be experiencing.” Grant also advises discussing the risks and benefits of social media.
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.