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Why social media can be damaging for young people

There should be official guidelines about how social media is used by children amid fears over how it impacts their mental health, says the Health and Social Care Secretary.
Matt Hancock said he was "very worried" by the growing evidence of the detrimental effect on the health of young people.He has told Dame Sally Davies, the UK's chief medical officer, to begin preparing official guidance on safe time limits that would work in a similar way to safe alcohol limits.While there are no official time limit guidelines on social media, a study last year found watching television for more than three hours each day is associated with poorer language skills in 11-year-old children.:: Tips to prevent too much social media use and use it safelyThe NSPCC says there is currently no common set of child safety rules or laws that social media sites have to follow. Each site gets to decide what steps they take to keep children safe.Most social media apps have a minimum age rating of 13.If a social network has set an age limit it means that some of the content may not be suitable for a younger child.Parents are encouraged to research the social network and discuss with their children if they are mature enough to handle the type of content they may see on social platforms.Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced a new age limit of 16 for users based in Europe.
Why social media can be damaging for young people

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Digital detox expert on smartphone tips
The UK Safer Internet Centre has the following tips for 11 to 19 year olds:Protect your online reputation - Use the services provided to manage your digital footprints and think before you post. Content posted online can last forever and could be shared publicly by anyone.Know where to find help - Understand how to report to service providers and use blocking and deleting tools. If something happens that upsets you online, it's never too late to tell someone.Don't give in to pressure - If you lose your inhibitions you've lost control; once you've pressed send you can't take it back.The Internet Watch Foundation has these tips for parents::: Talk about online safety with your children, as soon as they have access to internet connected devices
:: Set up parental controls and filters
:: Make a family agreement about device usage
:: Learn to safely live stream
:: Teach your child when to say no
:: See abusive content? Report it!What can you do if you think you are addicted to social media?Psychology Today says that if you want to check whether you may be at risk of developing an addiction to social media, ask yourself these six questions::: Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
:: Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
:: Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
:: Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
:: Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
:: Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?If the answer to all six of these questions is "yes" then you may have or be developing an addiction to using social media. It said "may" because the only way this can be confirmed is through a diagnosis from a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Why social media can be damaging for young people

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Social media platforms had affect mental health and sleep
If you answered "yes" to a few of these questions, it is more likely that you are a habitual social media user and that what you should do is engage in 'digital detox' strategies that simply allow you to reduce the amount of time spent on social media.This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only allowing yourself to check your phone every 30 minutes or once an hour.Other simple steps include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time (such as during meal times) and leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep (just so you don't get the urge to check social media before bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up).For the small number of individuals that are genuinely addicted to social media use, treatment is warranted.The most successful type of treatment for online addictions appears to be cognitive behavioural therapy (a talk therapy designed to help people change the way they think and behave), although there are relatively few published studies examining its efficacy in relation to internet addictions.
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