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Seminar to discuss impact of social media on youths

Intelligencer Journal - 4/22/2019

How much electronic use among youths is too much?

On Saturday, April 27, Kim McDevitt, executive director of Mental Health America-Lancaster County, will address the “Effects of electronics and social media on children’s mental health” at a free parenting workshop at Highland Presbyterian Church. The event will run from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

“Electronics is changing the landscape of mental health for our children,” McDevitt explained. “We’ve seen an increase in anxiety and depression in kiddos attributed to electronic usage.”

She pointed to studies that show children ages 8-18 spend an average of 8-10 hours daily on “screen media,” which is defined as anything that constitutes a screen — television, computers or other electronic devices.

While electronics usage among youths provides some benefits, it also has impacted social skills and led to isolation.

In her presentation, McDevitt will discuss recommended screen media times for youths by age group and offer ways to create family media plans.

“We’ll be looking at how much usage is too much and what parents can do,” she said.

Attendees will get tips about how to set successful limits. They’ll also leave with a list of resources.

“I’ll talk about weaning them off social media by increasing family time and other structured social activities and giving them tools to do so.”

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States and that social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition.

A study published last year in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology concludes there is a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness.

McDevitt also points to another disconnect: “How connected are we to our children?” she asked.

Crédito: EARLE CORNELIUS | Staff Writer