Anxiety, Depression and Social Media

If my sister was a teenager in today’s world of social media, she would be dead.

I have no doubt about it.

It was a miracle that she survived as it was, but had facebook, instagram, snap chat and tiktok been around then, I honestly do not think she would be here today.

I absolutely hate the impact social media has on our teens today.

My niece is 15 and we have already found her in situations she had no intentions of being in.

And she has already found herself feeling sick from the anxiety and stress that social media adds onto an already stressful time of life for teens when in high school.

The pressure before was already hideous.

When I was in high school it was all just beginning really, I was onto myspace and good old MSN chat. But I missed the worst of what has become the normal.

My sister, 8 years older than me, was a classic rebellious teen.

Well more than that really, she has her own mental health issues which were not medically recognised back then. She still has her struggles to this day.

My sister was socially awkward and she wanted so desperately to fit in.

We moved to Australia just as she was beginning high school, I’m sure the rebelliousness was a lot to do with that change and being separated from her lifetime friends.

My sister found herself believing everything people told her she should believe.

The school life environment and society was totally different to what she was used to, everyone was well into their established friendships and she was fresh off the boat trying to join in.

She met a boy, began smoking pot, lying, stealing, having sex and distancing herself from us.

My parents were new to this.

We came from such a huge family back in the UK and suddenly we were here in Australia and they had no support and nobody to get advice from.

She would sneak out.

She would return home day’s later, police involved, she would be coming down from pot, she was angry and she was a mess.

When I see and read about the horrifying reality of suicides in teens now, it is absolutely devastating.

They no longer just have pressures of high school at school or at work, they are no longer only at risk of being bullied when they are out, they now have pressure 24 x 7 online wherever they are, to have the most followers, likes and compliments.

Exposing themselves more and more because – “everyone does”.

If my sister was a teen now, her biggest danger would be – who she thought she was talking to and who she actually could be talking to.

She would be very vulnerable and I just know she would have made a naive decision which could have taken her from us.

As I look at my stunning niece, all I want to do is shake her, tell her, THIS IS THE WORLD, not that space in your phone.

Llife is happening NOW and your worth is not based on how many people like your profile picture.

My niece is in no way mature enough to take on the huge responsibility and pressure of social media.

I tell her all the stories.

I have tried my best to educate her on the dangers of the web.

Right now, she has no social media because after one weekend when she was physically ill about things she was getting up to.

There was someone online who was talking to her about suicide and my niece was in a situation where anything she said could contribute to that person taking their own life.

She knew she couldn’t handle it so she broke down and confided in me. I took over from there.

Recently at a McDonalds, I couldn’t believe that a group of kids, probably around 8-9 years old sitting near us, were on phones posting things to tiktok.

I could see their screens and the things they were looking at on there…not a chance in hell do I want my kids seeing that.

I am a grown women. I have confidence in myself and my use of social media.

I do share about my kids but my kids are not accessing the internet and they won’t for as long as I can help it.

I read a story recently, about a boy with autism who was talked into taking a bunch of pills from his mum’s medicine cabinet, whilst talking to someone on a game online.

It was a pure miracle that he only took vitamins and survived. Terrifying.

Anxiety and depression is real. It can riddle all of us and our youths are so so vulnerable with or without the added stress of social media.

I may not be able to protect my teens someday from accessing the online social media world…

But I will try my absolute best even if they resent me for it.

National lifeline crisis support and suicide prevention 13 11 14

Written by, Lucy Watts

You can follow Lucy on her Facebook page at Lucy Watts – Life & Autism.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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