February 2023 Newsletter
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Children and Technology
It is Safer internet day on February the 7th and with this in mind we at TMH thought it would be a good excuse to think about the effect of the internet and technology on our mental health. The increasing use of the internet and digital devices by children has brought about a range of negative effects on their mental health. One of the most significant concerns is the impact of social media on children’s self-esteem and body image. Research has shown that children who spend a lot of time on social media are more likely to experience feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth, as they compare themselves to the curated and often idealized images of others that they see online.
Another negative effect of internet and digital device use on child mental health is the potential for cyberbullying. Children who are bullied online may experience a range of negative emotional and psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. In severe cases, cyberbullying can even lead to self-harm or suicide.
Excessive use of the internet and digital devices can also disrupt sleep patterns, which can have a detrimental impact on a child’s overall well-being. Children who spend a lot of time on screens before bedtime may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, which can lead to fatigue and irritability.
Additionally, excessive use of internet and digital devices can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can increase the risk of obesity and related health problems. Children who spend a lot of time in front of screens may be less likely to engage in physical activity, which can lead to weight gain and poor physical health.
While the internet and digital devices have many benefits and can be used for educational and entertainment purposes, it is important for parents and caregivers to set limits on the amount of time children spend online and to monitor their online activities. Encouraging children to engage in other activities, such as sports, hobbies, and social interactions, can help mitigate the negative effects of internet and digital device use on child mental health.
Childrens anxiety levels are rising in Suffolk
Healthwatch Suffolk have just published their long-awaited research project My Health, Our Future (MHOF) and they have highlighted that children’s anxiety levels are increasing year on year in our county. For more information www.healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk/mho
Seasonal affective disorder
During these dark winter months we at Teenage Mental Health note a significant increase in patients and their parents reporting feeling quite emotionally low, more depressed than usual so we thought it might be an idea to mention seasonal affective disorder or SAD and give our readers some more information on this seasonally negative problem on our general mental health and wellbeing.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, most commonly in the fall and winter. Children may experience symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty sleeping.
They may also have physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite and weight. SAD in children can have a significant impact on their mental health, academic performance, and relationships with peers and family members. Parents should be mindful of the possible signs of SAD and seek professional help if they notice any symptoms. Light therapy, therapy, and medication may be used to treat SAD in children.