Expert Support for Parenting Your Teen's Eating and Emotions
June 2023 Newsletter
Your Teen and Social Media

As the parent of a teen, you may be aware that the US Surgeon General just issued an advisory on social media use for teens
The American Psychological Association also urged parents to closely monitor their children's social media use. 
And, if discussions in my office are any indication, this has been on your mind a ton, way before those alarm bells were rung. 
So what are the bottom line recommendations for parents?
  • Limit screen time and set boundaries around the use of technology
  • Model healthy behaviors with your own phone and social media use
  • Teach your teen social media literacy: aka: using critical thinking skills when they evaluate, interact with or create social media
It is well-said by APA President, Thema Bryant, PhD: “Just as we require young people to be trained in order to get a driver’s license, our youth need instruction in the safe and healthy use of social media.”
Sounds reasonable enough… unless you are a real life parent of a real life teen that has ever tried to limit your kid's social media and have tough conversations about the dangers of technology. Then is it hard. Really hard
Teens use social media for everything: it is how they get their news, where they learn new skills, and, most importantly, how they connect with one another. For good reason, they will push back (as teens are known to do) against your limits. On top of that, if your child is struggling with their eating, body image and/or mental health, social media may BOTH feel like a safe haven and be a very problematic place. Tricky. 
But, at the same time, you likely have a sense if social media is harming your child and I want parents to feel empowered to do something about it. 
First, before you talk to your teen, spend a week assessing your own technology use. Do you ever find an hour has passed during your workday as you checked Facebook? Find yourself scrolling Instagram in the carline? Lost yourself down a doom-and-gloom news cycle pre-bedtime? We are all vulnerable to struggles with this, which will help you do the most important thing, which is…
Come to your child with empathy and understanding, rather than judgement and criticism. Start the conversation about social media by really validating all the things they love about it and even the ways your child may feel like it helps them. Social media is not all bad. Like most things in life it is about moderation and mindfulness: how much of this do I need and what the motivation behind using it? How does using this make me feel? Are there tweaks your child may be open to exploring? Starting from a place of understanding can really lay the groundwork for a much more productive, and honest, conversation
This is a complex and complicated issue, but there are great resources out there. Check out my favorite ones below! 
All the best,