South Georgia pundits respond to congressional focus on effects of social media on children

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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Members of Congress are aiming to crack down on certain social media platforms, including Instagram, over new information about the app’s impact on children’s physical and mental health.

“It’s like any tool. If not used properly it can have very negative effects, ”said Todd Lynch, vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Moultrie.

Lynch said he was happy that there was a resurgence of interest in the effects of social media on children.

Todd Lynch is the vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Moultrie.(WALB / Zoom)

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced last month that internal research from Instagram’s parent company Meta showed the platform is linked to higher risks to the physical and mental health of young people. .

This can include depression, eating disorders, and even suicide.

“Until this information was made public and until Congress asked them to testify about it, they really did nothing about it,” said Jonathan Carter, assistant professor of communications at the Georgia Southwestern State University.

Carter said it was good that Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testified before a Senate panel in December because it raises awareness.

So how can parents protect the mental and physical health of their children?

“Be present and aware of your child’s use of social media,” Lynch said. “If you need to reduce screen time, if you need to restrict it, do it.”

He also said parents should pay attention to their children’s mood swings.

“If they have unrealistic expectations, what can they gain by seeing these different posts on social media,” Lynch said. “If they get withdrawn, they interact normally, but spend a lot more time in their rooms using their phones. “

Jonathan Carter is Assistant Professor of Communication at Georgia Southwestern State ...
Jonathan Carter is Assistant Professor of Communication at Georgia Southwestern State University.(WALB / Zoom)

Carter said parents may not want to focus on just one app because the apps your kids use will change.

“Just regulating Instagram on your kid’s phone or something like that isn’t going to be enough to stop the pressures of that stuff,” Carter said.

Instead, consider having an ongoing, serious conversation with them about how to protect their sanity.

“It’s a lot more about helping them understand how to consume media better,” Carter said.

Instagram announced a feature that urges teens to take breaks on the platform, hoping to discourage teens from spending too much time on the app.

The company also planned to announce more parental controls in the near future.

Attorney General Carr also joins several other states in an investigation into techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of young user engagement on social media platforms.

Copyright 2021 WALB. All rights reserved.


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