With the increase in popularity of so many social media sites, teenagers and even younger children are tuning in each day to see what’s going on. Sometimes they see funny videos but often they see people arguing. There seems to be more negative content on social media sites such as Facebook. It’s not uncommon to encounter angry comments.

Researchers are trying to determine how this is affecting younger children and teens. The University of Otago recently completed a study that shows that our dreams and sleep cycles are being affected by social media.

social media effects on sleep quality 2

Healthy Teens

Dr. Damian Scarf, of the Department of Psychology, reminds everyone that the mental health of adolescents and young adults can be impacted by insomnia. When kids don’t get enough sleep, they’re cranky. They can’t focus. They don’t do well in school. Good sleep and wholesome, nourishing food are both important for children. When kids lack in either, they’re more prone to depression.

Some studies have shown that kids can become suicidal if sleep-deprived or if their diet is deficient. This is something that most parents are well aware of. Children simply do better if they grow up in a stable, supportive environment. They need a good night’s sleep each night and healthy food to eat.

An international journal called Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that sleep quality is a risk factor for depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

In the article, Dr. Scarf says, “Parents and young people should ensure they have good sleep hygiene, like stopping social media use at a specific time each day and not accessing social media when in bed.”

Research into Social Media Use

In this study, researchers took a look at the behaviors of 132 tertiary students. Half of them limited their use of popular apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook to just ten minutes per day for each one. Though the changes only made a small impact on the students, they found that the changes were due to the fact that the students slept better whenever they limited their access to social media sites. Sleep quality improved, triggering overall improvements in their quality of life.

Dr. Scarf believes that parents should focus more on making sure their kids are getting plenty of sleep each night. Though exposure to too much social media content can cause anxiety for kids, their sleep quality seemed like a more important issue.

“However, rather than becoming preoccupied with their social media use and trying to keep up with the emergence of new platforms, such as Tik Tok, parents should focus on sleep,” Dr. Scarf says.

Kids are Impressionable

Sarah Graham, Ph.D. candidate and co-author of the study said that social media content can have a greater impact on some children. Some kids are just naturally more affected by the things they see and hear than others. This has to be taken into account as well.

She said this: “Although we did not see large impacts of social media overall, it is important to keep in mind that some young people may be more impacted by social media than others. An image-based platform like Instagram may become problematic for young females that have poor body image. So, parents should be wary of factors that may make their teenager more sensitive to social media content.”

It’s good to remember that children are just naturally more susceptible to things in life. They’re more impressionable. The things they see and hear can stick with them longer. That’s why parents should monitor their children’s activities online. Though there are so many educational things online, there are also dangers present.

social media effects on sleep quality

Monitoring Social Media

Just as parents are responsible to make sure their kids have a stable home and nourishing food, they’re also responsible to ensure that children are not exposed to negative or harmful content online. This includes monitoring their use of the internet, so it doesn’t get out of hand. It’s easy for adults and children to slip into adverse habits when it comes to spending time on social media sites.

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.

Website Address:
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.

Website Address:
Kidsline
Description:

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.

Website Address:
Youthline
Description:

Need support or want to talk? Contact Youthline.

Free Text 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

Website Address:
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)

Website Address:
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Description:

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

Website Address:
Netsafe Cyberbullying
Description:

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

Website Address:
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.

Website Address:
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.

Website Address:
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.

Website Address:
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

Provides confidential telephone support.
Helplines for children and young people

Website Address:
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:
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

Website Address:
Family Violence Helpline
Description:

Are You OK – 0800 456 450 family violence helpline

Website Address:
Gambling Helpline
Description:

Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655

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

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.

Mental health services – Ministry of Health
Description:

We all face challenges to our mental health at various times in our lives. The way we’re feeling can change how we think and how we deal with tough times.

There’s a range of resources and services available to help including phone and online services and information, as well as face-to-face support.

Most services are free and provide information and confidential advice from trained professionals. There's also information for family, whānau, or friends if they need advice and support.

If you’re told that there is a waiting time for a service, please still reach out and make contact. Other supports can be put in place – ask what you can try in the meantime.

 

Helplines for children and young people

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor.

To talk to a trained counsellor 24/7 call the Depression helpline – 0800 111 757.

To get help from a registered nurse 24/7 call Healthline – 0800 611 116.

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

What's Up  – 0800 942 8787, (for 5–18-year-olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, 1 pm–10 pm and on weekends, 3 pm–10 pm. Online chat is available from 7 pm–10 pm daily.

Website Address: