Social media when I was young involved collecting your mate’s email addresses, uploading them to MSN and gossiping for hours pinging them any time they took more than 30 seconds to reply after posting BRB. Most of the contacts were girls in the boarding school dorms next to me. At very most they were bloke I knew from our local boys school or that I met on a family holiday to the south of France.
Now things have changed.
Originally it was niche internet chat rooms, and now it’s mainstream social media platforms and online games which are allowing minors to talk to people they don’t personally know.
I do, at times, look into the future thinking about my own children (if/when I have any) and consider how the social media world will impact their childhood in a way I could never have imagined.
Tech is advancing and even the most basic phones now have access to the internet. So how can we protect children from the potential harms of the internet and social media, whilst of course ensuring they are able to benefit from the incredible opportunities that technology provides?
This is something which has now been asked in a new paper from the royal college of psychiatry called ‘Technology use and the mental health of young people’ and has been reported today (see link below for full paper).
The report itself starts with Molly Rose who tragically took her own life. Prior to her death she had given no indication of a deterioration in her mental state, however when her social media was reviewed following her death it suggested she had viewed self harm and suicide related posts.
She was only 14.
This report calls for further in depth research into young people’s use of social media and suggests that rather than just screen time recordings, the context of that screen time should be monitored and reviewed. By that I mean, what is being viewed, liked and shared.
Should social media companies be involved in tracking the social media activity of children and passing on concerning activity to professionals? And who would these professionals be? Are social media companies going far enough to protect our children? Is this suggestion an invasion of our privacy rights?
This report has created a lot of questions and everyone’s opinion on it will be different. I’m sure, however, what we can agree on is that Molly’s story is absolutely tragic and unfortunately there have been other such cases across the UK.
With this in mind the move to talk about mental health and understanding the impacts of social media on it is vital. We cannot ignore that mental health diagnosis are common among all demographics and supporting conversations about mental health is key. It is so important to remember discussing your mental health is not a sign of weakness, but something very brave.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments below and keep up to date on Instagram @thegymmedic for more posts and content.
If you yourself are struggling with your mental health please seek medical advice and I have provided a few useful links below.
Let’s keep the conversation going.
The Gym Medic xx
All opinions are my own.
BBC Article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51134545
Royal College of Psychiatry Paper: https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/improving-care/better-mh-policy/college-reports/college-report-cr225.pdf
The Molly Rose Foundation: https://mollyrosefoundation.org/ The Molly Rose Foundation has been set up with the aim preventing suicide specifically in young people under the age of 25.
The mental health Charity Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/