Psychiatrists Should Ask Children about Their Time Spent on Social Media

The researchers believe that addiction to social media is one of the significant reasons behind mental illness.

The children being counseled for mental health assessment should be asked about their use of social media by concerning psychiatrists, says the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, UK. The college believes it is crucial to know the impact of social media on their mental health and how much time they spend online. It has been observed that poor mental health has a connection to the unregulated usage of social media. Earlier in March 2019, a group of MPs said excessive use of social media should be classified as a disease and demanded new regulations to shield children from an ‘online wild west’.

The college recommended that during the assessment of children for mental health the psychiatrists should ask about the potentially harmful content on social media impacting the existing problem. It is crucial to understand how technology affects their academic performance, mood, sleeping habits, social behavior and how such a condition could lead to severe mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, etc. The researchers at the Royal College of Psychiatrists advise that children should stop online activities one hour before bedtime and during mealtimes.

Spending too much time online restricts other activities such as face-to-face conversations with family and friends. The college also said that it does not say that social media or online activities are the main drivers of mental diseases. However, they do play a significant role, hence should be regulated. Clair Murdoch, National Director for Mental Health at NHS said that the NHS is implementing ambitious plans to improve mental illness services and the mental health of children. Moreover, she is also expecting social media giants to ‘step up’ for this initiative.

Rina Vidyasagar

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