Teen Viewing, Social Media Giants Brace For Change

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November 9, 2021,

Products introduced to and consumed by teens often get off to a great start, typically for a good reason.

Okay, maybe a pretty good reason.

Some of us can remember when television was first introduced and really came into its own in the 1960s and 1970’s with some great sitcoms.

The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Gilligan’s Island, Lost In Space, Batman and the Brady Bunch were some fantastic shows to watch back in the day.

Teenagers found them entertaining because, in part, teenagers played a strong role in the storylines.

Adults loved TV because it was a fantastic babysitter.

Over time, as television storylines became more violent and sexual, the alarm bells in terms of how young people were being affected began to sound off.

One of the great debates was, is all of the excessive violence encouraging teens to become more desensitized and violent themselves?

Back in 2021, an article in psychiatrictimes.com shared revealing information stating, “In reality, the number of violent crimes has been falling, but the public’s perception is that violence has increased. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the overall violent victimization rate (eg, rape and assaults) decreased by 40% from 2001 to 2010. Similarly, the murder rate in the US has dropped by almost half, from 9.8 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 5.0 in 2009.”

Having said that, with those type of statistics, how television violence impacts young people just depends upon who you ask.

We were once a part of organized religion and we know for certain, in some of those circles, they would completely disagree with the results of the above study.

We say all of this because of the recent hot topic about how the Social Media in general and Instagram and Facebook in particular are impacting teens in a negative way.

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On October 9, 2021, as reported at the news leader cnn.com, “Facebook’s own internal research, cited in one of Haugen’s filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, showed “13.5% of teen girls on Instagram say the platform makes thoughts of ‘Suicide and Self Injury’ worse” and 17% say the platform makes “Eating Issues” such as anorexia worse.”

They add the research also claimed Facebook’s platforms “make body image issues worse for 1 in 3 teen girls.”

Instagram is owned by Facebook.

Another important information source, National Public Radio shares, “Researchers have worked for decades to tease out the relationship between teen media use and mental health. Although there is debate, they tend to agree that the evidence we’ve seen so far is complex, contradictory and ultimately inconclusive.”

That is exactly the challenge with research and surveys. It just depends who you talk to.

Inconclusive is almost the same as saying, we never did a survey worth talking about.

Since the leaked Facebook research consists of opinion surveys and interviews as Facebook asked teens about their impressions of Instagram’s effect on their body image, mental health and other issues, that methodology muddies the waters even more.

Having said that, if there is even a kernel of truth to how Facebook and Instagram may have a negative impact on the mental and emotional well-being of teenagers, it is probably best to air on the side of caution.

The Social Media giants have made a decision to at least try and curve their possible negative impact.

As reported by reuters.com, “A Facebook Inc (FB.O) executive said Sunday that the company would introduce new measures on its apps to prompt teens away from harmful content, as U.S lawmakers scrutinize how Facebook and subsidiaries like Instagram affect young people’s mental health.”

In terms of improving the health and emotional steadiness of teens, some are taking another approach.

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A popular book on Amazon, “Coping Skills for Teens Workbook: 60 Helpful Ways to Deal with Stress, Anxiety and Anger”, by Janine Halloran has some suggestions.

Here is a review at Amazon.

“A teen version of the #1 Bestselling Coping Skills for Kids Workbook, this version is written specifically with a tween/teen audience (age 11+) in mind.

There are 60 coping strategies included in the book, and it’s divided into Coping Styles to make searching for a coping skill easier.

This book also includes several pages to support teens as they work on their coping skills, including: Feelings Tracker Worksheet Identifying Triggers and Making a Plan Positive to Negative Thoughts Worksheet Journal Pages Wellness Worksheets, including a Self-Care PlanThere’s also a rich resource section full of apps, books, card decks, and other resources to help teens deal with stress, anxiety and anger.”

From my favorite go-to expert on coping skills, Janine Halloran does not disappoint with her latest book! I love her simple, yet comprehensive way of explaining anxiety to teens. Her exercises are spot on and can really catapult a teen’s progress.

This workbook will definitely be used in my therapy practice and a favorite resource to recommend.”

Natasha Daniels, LCSW, Child Therapist & Author, Hill Child Counseling & creator of AT Parenting Survival.

“As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Janine knows so many great ways to cope with the problems that come up in life. As I read this book my 15-year-old and I were under a tremendous amount of stress, Janine’s book helped not just my teen – but me as well. We read together about the adolescent brain, which Janine writes so helpfully about in Coping Skills for Teens.

We gained a new understanding of why stress happens, and how coping skills are crucial for helping people feel better in times of stress. We’ve put several of Janine’s coping skills into place! I watched my teenager use these coping skills in getting better, getting home, and stepping into this new normal. He is thriving because of Janine’s wonderful book.

As an educator and parent, I see this book as crucial for not just every teen – but every teen’s family. Required reading that you will enjoy, learn from, and feel better every time you return to it for another coping skill.”

Karen Lock Kolp M.Ed., Child Development Expert, Parent Coach, Podcaster

“Once again, Janine has created an essential resource packed with education, activities, and simple worksheets. The Coping Skills for Teens workbook empowers teens to understand their emotions and manage them in a variety of healthy ways. I appreciate how the skills are broken up by type, giving teens numerous options to choose from depending on the situation. They can also record the coping skills they’ve used as a reference when they feel stuck, frustrated, or overwhelmed in the future.”

Nicole Schwarz, MA, LMFT, Parent Coach.

Nice to know.

We can appreciate their insights and willingness to share their personal experiences.

Though Facebook and Instagram appear to be taking steps to improve this controversial situation, please brace yourself.

The New York Post revealed, “Facebook leadership demonstrated its truly sinister intent in March of this year when the company announced plans to launch an Instagram for kids, foisting their technologies onto younger and younger children despite the obvious consequences.”

As the announcers used to say in the 1960’s after a Batman episode ended, “Tune in next week. Same Bat time. Same Bat channel.”

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