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Omaha teens mental health impacted by Instagram usage

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A recent study conducted by Facebook shows that teen usage of Instagram can lead to insecurity and a negative focus on their physical appearance.

Since the release of the study, Instagram says it’s looking for new ways to discourage users from browsing content that may negatively impact them.

Teens in Omaha aren’t immune to these effects either, says CHI Health Mental Health Therapist Tim Hron.

“What we’re seeing in our outpatient clinics, and to be honest in all of our treatment programs, we’re seeing increased depression, anxiety, it’s really effecting teens self-esteem, their confidence, their body image, how they view themselves,” said Hron.

The study shows that teen girls are more impacted by social media usage than teen boys, and Hron says it’s likely because girls tend to be more sensitive and serious when it comes to their body image, but that it’s not necessarily their fault.

“Because the images out there, our society socializes that girls have to look a certain way, and when you’re seeing filters that are making these images on social media almost seem perfect, that’s not real, but in a young girl’s mind, to them it is real,” said Hron.

“And young people, they don’t always have the coping skills that we do as adults, but to be honest, I see it in some of our adults as well.”

Hron says it’s important for everyone, especially teens, to learn to set healthy boundaries with their apps and to know their limits.

“If somebody is really struggling with their mental health and going to their online app as part of their day-to-day routine, one little thing can set them off,” said Hron.

Along with teens, parents should understand healthy practices and conversations to have with their kids to allow them to break the ‘addiction’ to social media that’s all too common in our society.

“Being able to know how to limit who is viewing their social media to just friends or people they know, and if there’s negative comments or bullying, being able to help them understand how to block it and not feel bad about it, sometimes they really feel bad, because it’s about acceptance and fitting in.”

Hron challenges everyone to count the number of times they open certain apps every day, or to go an entire day without using your phone or social media.

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