Tag Archive for NPR

Facebook and Depression: In my Child?!

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Parents, if you think your child is not on Facebook or at the very least, has an email account, I am sad to say that you may be wrong. Most kids, over the age of 9 that I speak to have at least one email account, one that mom and dad know about and one that they created; either at a friends house or at school.  Kids today are SAAVY when it comes to the world of blogging, face-booking, and googling, they are even more so when it comes from hiding it from their parents. 90% of third graders I have worked with have a cell phone, use the phrase “I’ll just Google it”, and if they don’t have a facebook account, the chances are the child sitting next to them on the bus has one.  I have worked with hundreds of kids in the past few years, all of whom have faced challenges with managing the overwhelming feelings that come with having Internet access. Whether it be cyberbulling, compulsive texting, or feelings of sadness because no one “commented on their status.” Children today are more at risk for depression and low-self esteem with the increase use of technology.

A recent study found a correlation between Facebook and depression in children (read it here) Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines, told the Associated Press, that Facebook presents a special challenge for kids struggling with their own self-esteem.  As the AP summed it up :With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.

So parents, be assured, that your kids may know more than you do when it comes to using the computer, however remember YOU ARE THE BOSS, technology is not a RIGHT it is a PRIVILEGE, that you control. Make sure you are up-to-date with current trends in Internet use, have your child take a class on Internet safety, and have open communication with your child on how much internet they consumed today.  Also ask your school’s PTA to hire someone who specializes in media awareness to come in and speak to both kids and parents, I have been contracted by national organizations and local schools many times this year to educate parents on whats really going on behind the screens and behind closed doors.  It empowers and educates kids and their parents. 

Here are a few great links :

Talking to Kids and Teens About Social Media and Texting

Health Media Diet for Your Kids

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Depression on the Rise in College Students

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

One out of every four college students that visits their universities health centers turns out to be depressed; two to three percent of them are suicidal, according to Maria Paul at Northwestern University.  This is a scary number, one that has in fact grown astronomically in the past decade.  The study also concludes that more discussion on depression symptoms and screenings need to occur in the college clinics and on campus.  Read more here

Young adults who are suffering from depression and anxiety are more resilient in their college years, and therapy, medication, and awareness are key in prevention of life-long suffering. Although they are going through major life changes; homesickness, changing friend groups, managing time, poor diet, there is room to grow and change neurochemically. For more information on findings of current research and the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests click here for the NPR story.

Symptoms of depression, especially in college-aged persons are:

  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness or despair
  • A feeling of hopelessness and that “it’s never going to get better”
  • A loss of interest in activities that typically make you happy
  • Physical aches and pains, such as back pain, that seem to have no cause
  • Appetite changes
  • Excessive weight loss or gain over a short period of time
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep disturbances (either insomnia or the desire to sleep excessively)
  • Strong feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or low self-esteem
  • Strong feelings of worry or anxiety
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide (seek help immediately!)

Read more at Suite101: College Students and Depression: Common Signs, Symptoms, and Experiences http://www.suite101.com/content/college-students-and-depression-a18745#ixzz1BVMQsAWR

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