Spotting and Acting on the Warning Signs of Social Media Harm

Spotting and Acting on the Warning Signs of Social Media Harm

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Spotting and Acting on the Warning Signs of Social Media Harm

Social media has dramatically changed how we communicate with one another and how we experience various kinds of media. However, studies have increasingly shown that social media can negatively impact the mental health of its users and has even been shown to put some users in danger. Spotting and acting on the warning signs of social media harm is important to protect yourself and others.

Sometimes social media harm is challenging to detect, such as online cyberbullying leading someone to hurt themselves, while other cases are more apparent. Regardless of the circumstances, there are helpful tactics you can use to keep you and your family safe.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else’s harmful acts on social media, you may be entitled to compensation. At Morgan & Morgan, we take every kind of personal injury very seriously—that’s why for over 20 years, we have fought For the People to defend their rights and seek justice against those who have wronged them. To learn more about your legal options, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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  • How Do I Spot and Act on the Warning Signs of Social Media Harm?

    Today's youth are the first generation that has grown up their entire lives online. Spotting the warning signs of social media harm can be important for managing an intervention, limiting a teen's social media use, and taking proactive steps to minimize the possibility of serious psychological issues. 

    One major danger of social media use is that users can become depressed or even suicidal, which can lead to acts of self harm. Millions of cases of self-harm go unreported, and two million are documented every single year. 60% of those involved in self-harm activities are females, and 90% of those involved in self-harm practices begin as a teenager. One in seven males and one in five females will engage in some type of self-harm activity. 

    Social media has proliferated this activity because of the highlight reel of other people's lives, the use of social media for cyberbullying purposes, and the constant comparisons that teens and young adults are making to each other. 

    Self-harm activities can include burning, cutting, picking scabs or acne, punching objects or themselves, or even hair pulling. Social media harm can also come in the form of significant cyberbullying, which makes your child consider suicidal ideation or actual suicidal actions. 

    Below are some key warning signs to watch out for in spotting and acting on the warning signs of social media harm.

    Your Child Is Obsessed With Their Social Media Profile

    Tracking your child's phone and using parental controls for social media can help you get a better handle on how your child is using these platforms. However, one of the most important things to watch out for is not just their actual use of social media apps, but underlying signs of an obsession. 

    If you notice that your child makes frequent comments or complaints about their follower count, are checking their posts obsessively throughout the day, or are constantly concerned with responding immediately to likes and comments on their posts, this could indicate an obsession with social media. 

    The human tendency for self-obsession can be exacerbated by social media since people get a dopamine hit from every action taken on their profile or each time they add a new friend.

    A False Sense of Community

    Social media can make it seem like you're more connected to people than ever before. Your child may feel as though it is extremely important for them to be on social media daily and to have access to these apps on their phone. They may argue that social media makes them feel more connected. 

    However, social media can create a false sense of community, particularly in younger demographics where bullying is already common. Virtual friendships are based on handing out compliments, likes, and connections, even though they may never see these people in person. 

    There is no substitute for personal interaction, including being on the phone. Make sure that your child has a healthy balance of spending time with people in person.

    Struggling With Comparison

    Social media gives us access to other people's lives, including their vacation details, information about their jobs, their families, and addresses. It makes it all too easy to automatically size yourself up against these other people who have recently posted something. Social media can trigger feelings of envy and can also make your child feel more materialistic. Make sure your child has a healthy assessment of themselves, or they may feel as though they come up short.

    Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

    Anxiety and depression are prevalent in younger adults already, but social media harm can make matters even worse. Children begin to police themselves with everything they say and how they look each and every day. Struggling with depression can only be made worse when they feel as though they've been excluded from activities or as though they simply aren't as cool as their peers. 

    Anxiety and depression can manifest through different symptoms. Your child may already have underlying anxiety or depression that gets exacerbated by social media, or social media can bring about these conditions. Some of the symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression include feeling restless, irritability or frustration, sleeping too much or waking up too early, having no appetite or eating more or less than normal, and having trouble staying asleep or falling asleep.

  • Are Teens More Impacted by Social Media Harm?

    In the scope of academic research, the idea of social media and its social and psychological impacts is yet unknown. However, early studies indicate that many people of all different age categories have been influenced by social media. Teens are especially likely to be subjected to social media harm because of their interest in their image and their impressionable, developing brains. This can cause them to feel as though they are not part of the major group of all of their peers, leading to significant problems in how they perceive themselves. 

    Teens also tend to use social media and related apps at a very high rate. This high rate of exposure means that they are constantly exposed to messages from social media, whether that comes from their peers, advertisers, or other sources. When a teen is consistently exposed to information, they may find it difficult to make decisions on their own or may be heavily influenced by the views of others. Particularly when the internet and social media are used to perpetrate bullying behavior, teens may experience the impacts of social media harm. Parents may not realize these circumstances until negative actions have already occurred. A growing number of parents are seriously concerned about the rise of social media use and the potential harm that it carries for young teens. 

    You may not even realize the extent to which your teen or preteen is using social media, which is why it can come as such a shock that your child may already have suffered some of the impacts of social media harm. In some cases, this can be as simple as writing an emotional roller coaster as your child experiences cyberbullying or the fear of missing out, but in more serious social media harm cases, this can involve action such as cutting or suicidal ideation. Parents who are on the lookout for the dangerous signs of both of these activities can more effectively respond to a teen who may be in crisis. 

    While not every issue from social media use may necessarily lead to a lawsuit, it is well worth an investigation to determine when social media harm has risen to the level of causing significant problems for a loved one. 

    Even when a parent has taken the necessary steps to enhance controls or restrictions on social media use, it is impossible to understand everything a teen or preteen is doing to use these applications, and by the time a parent discovers the issues, it may be too late. Especially when you can show that you have done everything possible to minimize the negative impact of social media and harm has still occurred, you may need to consult with a personal injury lawyer about whether you have the right to pursue a lawsuit. 

  • What to Do if Your Child Has Been Hurt by Social Media Harm?

    Social media harm can cause numerous problems, such as anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Speaking with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with social media harm lawsuits may help you to get a better understanding of the legal issues involved and what to do next in those situations.

    Contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more.

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