Blaming Social Media for Mental Health Issues is a Cop Out to Avoid Harder Decisions

Blaming Social Media for Mental Health Issues is a Cop Out to Avoid Harder Decisions

What I read in this matches what I see in real life. Some people spend a lot of time on social media doing things that are bad for their mental health. (Comparing their lives to the ultra-filtered images they see on social media, filling their feed with information that is bad for their mental health, etc.) while others use social media to connect with an online support network.

Given that, the calls for banning social media use for kids seem odd, but they are based on that being the easy thing. Blaming big tech will never be unpopular, and there is a possibility that some people might be better off not using social media as much.

Reviews Elsewhere – Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Reviews Elsewhere – Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times. Kids are often vulnerable because they have no close adults to trust and lean on for support. No one is there modeling what a mature sense of self is, so they aren’t learning it. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Drs. Maté and Neufeld said in this interview that I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with everything in their book, but on this point, I agree. Kids need trusted adults who make them feel safe and loved.

Yet we keep creating a society that makes it harder to provide that for kids. We are paying a price for that.

Taylor Swift, Deepfake Porn and the Law

Taylor Swift, Deepfake Porn and the Law

As the article explains, there is no federal law against this in the US. There are some state laws, but they’re not very effective. The problem is that we’ve always treated sexual abuse materials as criminal because, as the saying goes, behind every photo is a child being abused. With deepfakes, though, the abuse isn’t happening. So when a teen girl is the subject of deepfake porn, she was never sexually assaulted, so there’s no crime.

There’s a lot of harm, though. In the case of a celebrity, it might be reputational harm. In the case of teenagers, that fake can turn into blackmail, bullying, and all the mental health issues that go along with that. (The same is true of adults, but we know how vulnerable teens are to this and how this too often ends.)

Responses to Elmo Show How Traumatized Many of Us Are, And How Few People We Can Talk To About It

Responses to Elmo Show How Traumatized Many of Us Are, And How Few People We Can Talk To About It

What I find interesting about this, beyond the obvious take that many people out there are not doing well, is that if you asked this same question to many of your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, you probably wouldn’t see the same thing. There’s something about trauma-dumping to a fictional character that allows us to be honest without fear that we are too much for people to deal with. I worry about it all the time. If you asked me how I am on any given day, 99% of the time, I’d say something like “Not bad.” I might admit to struggling the other one percent of the time, but also probably downplay it.

Let me tell you a secret. I struggle much more than one percent of the time. I also don’t want people to worry about me, and I don’t want my struggles to be too much for the people in my life. I make my emotions small to protect other people. I know I’m not the only one.

The Positive Impacts of Social Media

The Positive Impacts of Social Media

This is the world we live in. Not one where teens would be fine if only they didn’t have social media, but one where teens take to social media to get information about mental health and other issues that they can’t talk to anyone else about. Getting rid of social media for minors will leave a void similar to the one I had growing up, where no one I knew talked about abuse or mental health issues, so I assumed I was the only one dealing with it.

That’s not a better world. I think a world where minors can access information provided by advocates who educate themselves about the facts and share their own lived experiences is invaluable. That’s what following these accounts can provide.