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Finding social media happiness is an inside job: Parents can lead the way

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A May post in PsychCentral provided an overview of the anxiety inducing impact Facebook (and by association social media) has on the individual. The high level summary indicates the following problems for social media users who are not mindful: 1) because you can create the face you want to present to the world, it can become an obsession to manage your on-line image; 2) feelings of inadequacy and depression can set in especially because the app facilitates comparing yourself to others who are also putting up their “best version” of their on-line selves; and 3) avid users of Facebook tend to be more anxious in social settings.

This impact of social media on human psyche is important to fully appreciate the experience of the modern teenager, who has grown up with an omnipresent cyber realm that places so much emphasis on external input in the pursuit of happiness.

Dr. Angela Chanter, a psychologist in Roseville whose practice, Therapeutic Solutions 360, provides strategies to overcome the mental health issues of youth and modern families, wants parents to know that these cyber-powered experiences that induce depression and anxiety are serious business for living a happy life well beyond the teen years.

Chanter encourages parents to consider that in order to help our youth navigate the role of emotion in this network culture of publishing photos and likes with a healthy mindset, we have to be able to regulate our own emotion. “We must be able to meet our children in their most anxious state, without becoming anxious ourselves, and then help bring them back down into a state of peace,” she said. “If we cannot help children regulate emotion, then we are not a part of the solution.”