Social media & technology have become part of everyday life.
The world that our children are growing up in is not the same as ours. It's easy to approach social media out of a place of fear, and it’s understandable -- Smartphones and social media are contributing to bullying, depression, and even suicide of our nation's children (suicide in girls age 10 - 24 is up 200% since 1999 - Center for Disease Control).
What we don't consider, is that social media is also where the next generation explores their identity. How they communicate who they are to the world.
It's up to us, as parents, educators and mentors, to show them how to have a healthy relationship with their virtual identity.
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Depression, Suicide & social media
Social media is a one-stop-shop for anxiety and depression.
Our "selfie" society amplifies the pressure of perfection, which is an exhausting illusion to maintain.
These two emotionally-rich experiences mixed with a teen's hormone-driven, spontaneous nature is a perfect recipe for suicide. You can see my Suicide Fact Sheet here.
CONNECT BEFORE YOU CORRECT.
Instead of taking your child's phone away as punishment and breaking their trust, establish constant, casual conversation that includes their life on social media.
The challenges brought on by social media are the same as the ones your child will face in their adult-life, so helping them learn coping skills will serve them well in the future.
This is the space where you can:
establish good time management
adopt healthy coping behavior (rather than have an emotional reaction, you can step away, unplug & get out of your head)
teach them to speak up calmly and confidently - even in the comments of their Instagram
- Help them maintain self worth despite what others say or think. Other people's opinion of you is none of your business.
HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
From children to adults, without being aware of it, log onto social media.
Instantly transferring our awareness and energy from real life to virtual life.
It's a energy vacuum, social media can rob you of hours, including the present moment.
Here are simple ways to establish a healthy relationship with social media:
Buy an alarm clock
Everyone in the family can use some time to unplug. Studies have shown that screen time right before bed interferes with good rest and feeds the F.O.M.O. monster (Fear Of Missing Out)
share what you do, not just how you look
It's easy to get personal on social media. Next time you want to take a selfie, capture a picture of what you are DOING, instead of how you are looking. If you aren't doing anything to take a picture of, this is at the perfect opportunity to plan an outing.
one hour together
No earbuds, no phones, for everyone in the family. Try it for one hour a day. Dinner time is always a great excuse to unplug. For this to work, parents you have to do this too!
Social media is the new mall
It is the space where our children begin to experiment with identity and relationship with confidence.
Encourage your teen to use social media to connect with communities beyond their town.
This is a great experience to see what fashion is like on the other side of the world. Find a teen in another town dealing with bullying and support each other. Social media a great place for empowerment and positivity.
The Power of a Teen's Voice peer-2-peer program
Teens want to be heard, especially by other teens. Using your voice among your peers sets you up for confident conversations throughout life.
Talk to your high school about adopting the “Find Your Voice” Peer-2-Peer Program!!
The semester-long program is based on Sahar's book, "Find Your Voice.", which is based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy techniques for dealing with your emotions.
This program is developed to be passed on to a new group of students at the end of each semester, establishing an on-campus mentoring program for years.
You can share this packet with your school if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of adopting this program for your campus.
SP2: Sahar Paz Suicide Prevention
Sahar Paz has developed Suicide Prevention Program, (SP2) for public schools to help stem the rising tide of suicide in our communities and help the teens left behind learn how to cope.
The program includes on-campus presentations and a peer-to-peer program, using principles in Sahar's book, Find Your Voice, that offers support long after Sahar leaves the campus.
When working with a school, Sahar will first meet with the principal and head counselor to make sure that she is speaking to the specific issues of the school. Next is an open, give-and-take session with the faculty—for the same reason. Finally, Sahar meets with the students for a series of presentations, that can include yoga breathing techniques, or a yoga class.
ARTICLES & STATISTICS
Hi, I'm Sahar
I'm a suicide prevention expert, keynote speaker, and author dedicated to breaking the stigma of emotional health in individuals, schools, and society.
I guide students, adults, educators, and professionals to understand the relationship between their thoughts and emotions, freeing them, and their voice from unhealthy coping patterns.