A link between mental health and time online – Social Networking & Mental Health

Unless you have been living “off-the-grid,” you can come across a myriad of resources for finding information related to your mental health. It has lately become quite a buzzword in the modern society that we live in. In fact, it has become household terminology. When you visit a doctor for your health check-ups, today’s doctors now might ask the millennials, “How is your mental health?”

As per a new study report by Pew Research Centre, it was observed that around 78 percent of the modern adolescent population uses various kinds of social media interactions on a daily basis. Some of the most popular options for social media interactions are through the leading platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and so more. The question remains, “How is our time spent online affecting our mental health?”

A Brief Into My Insight

Sitting in a beautiful city, focused on absorbing the culture, experience, noise, and the view, I was taken by a young family boarding the daytime city exploring bus.

I was intrigued by the family situation that I was observing. The family’s young children – aged between 5 and 8 years old – proceeded to take a seat at the front of the bus. It is perhaps the best place on the bus to admire the city views and iconic landmarks. They were certainly tourists and out to explore the sites on this day tour of the city bus.

mental health and time online

I noticed that rather than embracing the experience and sites, both young children pulled out their digital devices and proceeded to play games for the full duration of their ‘on the bus experience’. When the parents gave them the signal to disembark from this sightseeing bus, the children calmly put their devices away and hopped off the bus. The result – they had not done anything but play phone games. They had missed landmarks, they had not taken in any commentary, and the total tourist experience had likely been lost to them. They had perhaps reached the next level in their game though.

As someone who works closely with young people and understands the impact of positive mindfulness, I am aware of the impact that high levels of digital use can have on a young mind, and it’s wellbeing. I am also aware of how important family communication, interaction and engagement with each other is to these young developing people. Sadly, this opportunity to explore, engage, connect and be in the present moment was completely missed. Latest studies reveal that most of the young adult population is already available on leading social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. Around 70 percent spent time on Snapchat, while 71 percent used Instagram, and 68 percent of the young adolescents used Facebook.

As I watched and observed these young children in digital land, not taking in the beauty of the current moment, I sadly reflected upon the following facts and the current reality.

Fact:

  • Children as young as two are developing mental health problems because of smartphones and tablets.
  • An hour a day staring at a screen can be enough to make a child more likely to be anxious or depressed.
  • Adolescents spending more than seven hours a day on screens are twice as likely to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression as those who spent an hour.
  • Pre-schoolers, or under-fives, who are high users are twice as likely to often lose their temper – and are 46 percent more prone to being unable to calm down when excited.
  • Among 14 to 17-year-olds, more than four in ten (42.2 percent) of those in the study who spent more than seven hours a day on screens did not finish tasks.
  • Spending too much time on the Internet is known to forecast depression later in life, along with a myriad of emotional disorders. Other studies associated increased Internet use by adolescents with low self-esteem, social anxiety, hostility, and even ADHD.
child more likely to be anxious or depressed.

Reality:

  • Even moderate use of four hours daily is also associated with lower psychological well-being compared to one hour a day.
  • The US National Institute of Health estimates children and adolescents commonly spend an average of five to seven hours on screens during leisure time. Evidence of the adverse effects this has on health is growing steadily.
  • Experts warn ‘addicted’ children risk sleeplessness, obesity, and falling victim to cyber-bullying while losing valuable social skills through a lack of face-to-face contact.

Action:

  • Parents and teachers should cut the amount of time children spend online or watching television while they’re studying, socialising, eating or even playing sport.
  • Professor Twenge said her study, one of the biggest of its kind, backs the American Academy of Paediatrics’ established screen time limit – one hour per day for children aged two to five.
  • It also suggests a similar limit – perhaps two hours – should be applied to school-aged children and adolescents, she added.

Do you think that the use of a digital device was better entertainment for a young child than exploring a new city? While ignoring the Internet seems to be completely impossible for young adolescents, it is vital to understand that spending time online should not replace the type of social interaction that we require to be a well-rounded human being. Using the internet to escape major problems like bullying or poor academic grades can mostly lead to significant problems down the lane.

As much of our modern life is heavily dependent on the latest technological & internet advancements, it is imperative for us to recognize the positive and negative implications they carry. As technology and the internet begin to show the likelihood of addiction in young users, it is important to encourage the young people in our lives to spend time online in moderation.

We would be interested in hearing your stories, lessons learnt and views.

  • How are you as a parent managing and monitoring your children’s device usage?
  • What are your rules around the use of digital devices?
  • What do you believe could the risks of digital device use in our young children’s lives?

 

Please reach out to I’m Enough with your comments.

Emergency and help lines

APP – MyRivr
Description:

Everyone knows someone in need, whether it's a family member, a school or work friend, an associate or someone that you meet as you are going about daily life. Perhaps you do not know where to find help. MyRivr uses your location details to be able to provide you with the exact service providers close to you should you need support or need a nearby agency.

About MyRivr

As an ex-cop and gang member, Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson has spent time witnessing the struggles and challenges of the New Zealand community

After 12 years serving with the NZ Police, Rei resigned from his role as Senior Sergeant in Charge of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolio for Counties Manukau in March, 2017.

He has made it his mission to continue confronting issues, and trying to improve Pacific wellbeing in NZ – but this time he is using technology.

Rei is now the Technical Advisor for free app MYRIVR, a self-funded and volunteer managed concept from the community which was developed and released in 2015 by Corefusion Limited as MASA (Multi-Agency Services Application) to assist in a successful trial with Counties Manukau Police.

MYRIVR is now NZ’s largest in-app directory of community services, enabling visibility and instant access to more than 20,000 helpers and over 7,000 health and social services around the country.

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New Zealand Police Call in emergency 111
Description:

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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Kidsline
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Kidsline is New Zealand's original telephone counselling service for all kids up to 14 years of age. Kidsline operates from 4pm to 6pm Monday through to Friday. When kids ring they will speak to a Kidsline buddy – a specially trained teenage telephone counsellor.

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Youthline
Description:

Need support or want to talk? Contact Youthline.

Free Text 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

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Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline's telephone counselling service provides 24 hour a day, 7 day a week counselling and support. Calls are confidential and free and you will speak to a trained Lifeline counsellor.

Phone: 522 2999 (within Auckland)
Phone: 0800 543 354 (outside Auckland)

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Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Description:

Information for parents on creating a safe online learning and social environment for your children at home.

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Netsafe Cyberbullying
Description:

Information and advice about cyberbullying for young people, parents and teachers.

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Police Kia Kaha bullying programme for schools
Description:

Kia Kaha is a school-based programme that aims to help schools create environments where all members of the community feel safe, respected and valued, and where bullying cannot flourish.

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Depression helpline
Description:

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
This includes includes The Journal online help service.

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Depression helpline
Description:

An online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

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Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

Provides confidential telephone support.
Helplines for children and young people

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Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm.
Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression Helpline 24 hours a day
Description:

Depression Helpline (8am to midnight) Phone: 0800 111 757

Samaritans Phone: 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline Phone: 0508 828 865

Alcohol and Drug Helpline
Description:

Alcohol and Drug Helpline – 0800 787 797 or online chat

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Family Violence Helpline
Description:

Are You OK – 0800 456 450 family violence helpline

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Gambling Helpline
Description:

Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655

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Anxiety
Description:

Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Seniorline
Description:

A free information service for older people
Phone: 0800 725 463

Wellbeing Service
Description:

0508MUSICHELP – The Wellbeing Service is a 24/7 online, on the phone and in-person counselling service fully funded by the NZ Music Foundation and provided free of charge to those in the Kiwi music community who can't access the help they need due to hardship and other circumstances. Call 0508 MUSICHELP.

Domestic abuse helpline
Description:

Shine – 0508 744 633 confidential domestic abuse helpline

Smoking cessation help
Description:

Quit Line – 0800 778 778 smoking cessation help

Vagus Line
Description:

Vagus Line – 0800 56 76 666 (Mon, Wed, Fri 12 noon – 2pm).
Promote family harmony among Chinese, enhance parenting skills, decrease conflict among family members (couple, parent-child, in-laws) and stop family violence

Women’s Refuge Crisisline
Description:

Women's Refuge Crisisline – 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) (for women living with violence, or in fear, in their relationship or family)

Shakti Crisis Line
Description:

Shakti Crisis Line – 0800 742 584 (for migrant or refugee women living with family violence)

Rape Crisis
Description:

Rape Crisis – 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)

Website Address: Click Here
Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Canterbury and West Coast
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Canterbury and West Coast – 03 379 8415 / 0800 899 276 (1pm to midnight, seven nights)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Wellington
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Wellington 0800 200 207 (7pm–1am, Tuesday to Sunday)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Auckland Central
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Auckland Central 0508 927 654 or 0508 WARMLINE (8pm to midnight, seven nights)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline
Description:

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717

Depression
Description:

Depression and anxiety affects us all differently.
Free 24/7 Helpline: 0800 111 757 Text 4202

Website Address: Click Here
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline
Description:

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans
Description:

Whatever you're going through, call us any time on 0800 726 666.

Website Address: Click Here
Suicide Crisis Helpline
Description:

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

thelowdown.co.nz – Phone: 0800 111 757 or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Website Address: Click Here
Supporting Families in Mental Illness
Description:

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.