Mind, Body, and Soul is sponsored content.
While social media isn't going away anytime soon, a mental health expert says the depression that can come alongside it can.
"Facebook, Instagram and social media have been getting a lot of airtime lately in the news, especially as it relates to how social media is affecting teen girls," says Terry Warburton, Clinical Director of Recovery of Hope. "There are links between viewing Instagram images and other social media, and rising rates of depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem in girls in particular."
During adolescents, hormones and feelings are often intense.
"Teens are often very self-conscious, and they compare themselves to others. And some teens spend a lot of time on social media. Adolescents have struggled with these types of things for a long time, but social media definitely isn’t helping."
Warburton says she understands as a mother and a counsellor.
"I am the mother of three children, two of which are daughters. When they were teens, I was very attuned in particular to how they were feeling about their bodies, and whether they had a healthy relationship with food. As a therapist, I worried about eating disorders, mental illness, bullying - and all of the other things that parents worry about."
The challenges parents face today in an 'instant society' filled with social media can be hard to navigate.
"As parents, we have a lot of challenges these days. Smartphones and social media aren’t going away, but how can we help our kids and teens to develop a healthy sense of themselves in the midst of all of this? Once our kids get to a certain age, we become keenly aware that we can no longer control them. All we have left is influence."
Parents can use their influence to help their teenage children see themselves in a healthy and holistic way.
"I have heard from many teen clients over the years that they yearn for a better relationship with their mother and father. But meanwhile, the parents are experiencing anger and resistance from their kids and don’t see any sign that their child cares. No matter how good or bad things are in your relationship with your kids, it is always the responsibility of the parent to take the initiative in the relationship."
This action of building a relationship with a teenager can be exhausting at times, but Warburton assures it is always worth it.
"The caring adults in a teen’s life can have so much influence. Kids desperately need adults to be a strong presence in their lives. They need us, even when they appear to not need us, or even when they clearly let us know that they don’t need us. They still need us."
Using a reoccurring time or event each day, such as dinner time, to connect with their teenagers about stressors and what they viewed on social media that day can help build influence.
"It can be very fun exploring and reflecting together."