Take a Break From Fake: What now?

TAKE A BREAK FROM FAKE 

Featuring guest speaker, Collin Kartchner from the Save the Kids Foundation.

Parents- First of all, we want to thank everyone who attended our youth night and  our parent education events!  Collin spoke at Frey Elementary (4th and 5th) and Allatoona High School yesterday.  Today, Collin came to talk to our kids at Durham and it was AWESOME.
What do we do now?  Where do we go from here?
ASK your kids about his visit.  This is so important.  They want to talk.  We saw relief on these kids faces as they listened and learned about how social media is affecting them and their friendships.  They truly need an open dialogue and a safe place to talk about the reality of how social media is affecting them.  Not having conversations about anxiety, depression, suicide, bullying, self harm, eating disorders (and the list goes on) is not helping our kids.
Please like @SMASH4US on facebook and follow @SMASH_4_US on instagram (links below).  There you can find helpful information we learned while Collin was here and also keep this conversation going to support each other.  We WILL be hosting future events- so following these pages will be the best way to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
Here are few things that we wanted to pass along from Johanna Wendell LPC.
1) social media exposure is positively correlated with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor body image etc.
2) It is an addiction and so has to be treated as such: Just taking phone away isn’t solving the problem. It is like taking an alcoholic’s alcohol away, yes it will keep him/her from drinking in that moment, but they are just craving and waiting until they can have their fix. It is a temporary fix rather than promoting lasting change. It can be their security blanket/comfort/coping/friends etc so taking it away can be even worse if you don’t do it gently and strategically (eg limited exposure, gradual decrease).
3) Risk factors: anyone can become addicted but these individuals are more susceptible
a) anxiety and depression – this can be a vicious cycle with social media addiction
b) high stress levels
c) limited social life
d) failure to fit in
e) high pre-occupation with appearance
4) Signs of social media addiction
a) constant checking of phone – seem unable to put down
b) disproportionate distress when phone is taken away
c) constant check-ins, posts of what you are doing, pictures, pre-occupation with likes
d) isolating in room, less conversation/time with family – prioritizing device over live interactions
e) self-esteem/happiness is linked to number of friends, likes, followers etc
f) sneaking phone use and lying about it
g) checking phone in the middle of the night
Social media addiction can be so damaging to the adolescents’ psyches. Their whole life – identity, self-worth, self-esteem etc can become intertwined with how many friends, likes, followers etc. This makes our kids highly susceptible for depression/anxiety/self-harm etc because middle and high school is known for bullying or having your friends turn on you so that is devastating enough, but now it may be broadcasted for the world to see. It is also scary because anything they want to find, they can (eg  ways to kill yourself). While knowledge is power, it is dangerous to have that much power when you are a highly emotional, vulnerable adolescent.
Johanna Wendell, LPC

Psychotherapist