Girls today are lonely, depressed, and anxious. So, why are we giving them social media again? Can someone explain it to me?
I know this is an unpopular opinion. I know because I have a 13 year old girl.
I know because she has friends and almost all of them are already on Instagram, and probably other social media apps that I’m not aware of.
I’m pretty passionate about this issue, while also being confused about what I’m going to do. I worry about when I’ll have to give in. When the dreaded question of, “Can I have an Instagram account?” will come. Right now, she doesn’t want social media, and I’m thanking my lucky stars for that.
She doesn’t want it because her friends all stare at their phones. I’ve written about that before. But, today, I’m writing about something even more important.
Our girls (and I’m sure our boys too – that’s just not my expertise yet) are suffering because we are giving them social media.
Moms, I know you love your girls as much as I do. Why are we doing this to them so young?
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cites that a 2019 study found that 36% of girls today are extremely anxious.
Some cut themselves, suffer from OCD, and have suicide prevention apps on their phones. Let that sink in for a minute.
There are suicide prevention apps for teens.
What have we done to our kids? What are we continuing to do to them?
I get kids today need phones. I get texting is the new note writing. I’m fine with both of those things.
But, social media is making our kids suffer.
They are staring at their phones waiting for likes to pop up. They are seeing what parties they didn’t get invited to. They are valuing themselves based on whether or not their friends like their duck face selfie they post on their stories.
And, these are girls that are 10, 12, and 13. Some probably even younger.
They are comparing and judging each other constantly. They are depressed as a result. They are helping their friends out by installing suicide prevention apps on their friends’ phones.
This is not OK. Social media is literally created to be addictive and there is a mountain of evidence that suggests that this is leading to bad stuff.
Forget child predators for a minute (although those are real too folks) the real danger is that our girls are wanting to harm themselves because they don’t feel good enough after what they see on their phones all day long.
They are lonely.
95% of teens have smart phones. And the American Academy of Pediatrics is telling us that this will lead to depression and anxiety.
The article in the WSJ states,
“In a sense, modern girls are never truly alone and never truly with others.”
Think about that. WHAT ARE WE DOING? Yes, suicide has always been around. So has bullying. But, we are handing over something to our kids that will increase the risk greatly that our kids will experience anxiety and depression.
Professionals are telling us and we’re not listening.
I know it’s the standard, but that’s because WE let it be. Let’s change the standard. We didn’t know what this would do to our kids. It was all a big experiment that we unwittingly participated in.
But, we know now. Let’s wait. As long as possible. Because the power of moms is real. And the more of us that make our kids wait, the more norm that will be and kids won’t feel the pressures to grow up so fast.
And, we can help our kids by saying no when they ask for the latest app, or better yet – saying no to a smart phone all together.
It’s inevitable, I know. My girl will want it some day. So will yours. But, it doesn’t have to be today just because she asked.