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Keeping Kids Safe: Local expert warns of signs that social media is affecting kids mental health – WYTV

Oct 5th, 2021

(WYTV) Recently, a report from the Wall Street Journal suggested Facebook knows the damage Instagram does to teens mental health especially girls.

Akron Childrens Hospital expert Jessica Castonguay talked about how social media affects body image and signs parents should be looking for.

In real life, kids are glued to their phones, theyre very interested in whats going on with other people and they compare what theyre seeing on the screen to their own life, Castonguay said.

Castonguay is the medical director of the eating disorder program at Akron Childrens Mahoning Valley campus. She said when what teens see on the screen doesnt match their daily life, those complicated emotions can take over.

Either Im not the right shape, or Im not the right size or my house isnt right or my car isnt right and it really leads to a lot of anxiety and depression and fear of not fitting in or finding friends who are like you, Castonguay said.

According to reports, Facebooks own internal research revealed Instagram can harm the mental health of millions of young users and the company has known about it for years.

Its hard to break the habit. Its hard to break away and these kids are fearful that theyre missing out on things in life when they dont have their phone, when in reality they are missing out on life in general, Castonguay said.

Some big red flags parents can look out for include a change in the childs mood, eating habits and even their ability to sleep.

Its just super important not to compare yourself to what you see on that screen because if you really think about what you post its only the best parts of your day, so youre only seeing the good, youre not seeing the real, Castonguay said.

Akron Childrens behavioral health department offers outpatient treatment for kids and teens dealing with depression and anxiety.

Castonguay said the goal is not to have kids completely disconnect but understand how deceiving social media can be.

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Keeping Kids Safe: Local expert warns of signs that social media is affecting kids mental health - WYTV

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