Studies show that teenagers who use social media regularly are more likely to be the ones most affected by social media posts. The evidence is that according to an expert at the American Association of Psychiatric Nurses Annual Meeting, teenagers’ digital experiences can have a significant effect on their mental health and well-being. Some experts even say that: “The use of social networks may be an important factor leading to suicide in young people.”
This article will help parents understand how inappropriate Instagram posts make your kid take their own life?
Committed suicide because of constantly seeing inappropriate Instagram posts
In December 2017, a 14-year-old girl named Molly Russell, who lived in the UK, took her own life. About a year later, the girl’s father, Ian Russell, said that “Instagram helped my daughter take her life” because after Molly committed suicide, her family discovered that she had been following several Instagram accounts that posted photos of self-harm, depression, and suicide. He believes these posts influenced his daughter to come to that drastic decision.
Source: Molly Russell’s Family
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Studies have shown that most social media users are teenagers – Instagram, in particular, has seen a spike in teen users in recent years. The question is, are others like Molly influenced to self-harm by such social media posts?
How does inappropriate content on Instagram affect children?
It’s not hard to see why Molly’s dad is talking about how Instagram influenced Molly. Instagram is flooded with suicide-related hashtags and has led to hundreds of posts, some of which even encourage and even romanticize self-harm.
Risk of committing dangerous behavior
With the physiological changes, the teenage age of your children to becomes a rather “turbulent” time for every teenager when your child is very susceptible to the influence of external factors, follow that don’t really understand its consequences.
For example, a 15-year-old boy who broke up with his girlfriend would face rejection or experienced any other stress or negative emotions. He would become extremely susceptible to inappropriate Instagram posts which encourage self-harm because it helps him alleviate emotional pain.
If a child’s dangerous behavior is allowed to continue unchecked, or without parental awareness of it, this will affect the teen’s personal relationships, causing further stress to their lives, causing them to engage in more self-harm behavior to relieve emotional pain. From there, the cycle repeats, your child will continue and continue to harm himself.
Risk of repeating similar malicious content
While Instagram has algorithms in place to detect any self-harm words, these options can be easily dismissed as a child can simply click “skip” and dismiss content warnings pop up on the screen when someone runs a search for these terms on the platform.
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Furthermore, if your child likes a page or hashtag on Instagram, the platform will suggest similar posts for your child to follow. This results in users searching for posts with malicious content in order to access more of the same posts, which can aggravate their thinking. This is why Molly at the beginning of the story can’t escape this malicious content.
Besides the content that promotes self-harm, certain other types of toxic Instagram content actually lead to lots of problems related to body image, metabolic disorders, peer pressure, eating disorders, etc. and these content are constantly making a strong impact on your child’s perspective. That’s why lots of parents looking for ways to set parental controls on Instagram.
What can parents do to better protect their children from inappropriate content on Instagram?
Don’t ban your kids from using Instagram
If you go too extreme and ban your children from using social media, you are not respecting their privacy online and restricting their access to the benefits that social media brings.
Dr. Vivek pointed out a very simple fact of the Internet – you can’t ban everything because banning won’t solve the root of the problem. Teenagers will always be subject to a certain amount of stress or pressure. However, when this behavior is brought to a digital platform, it proves to be very complex and complicated. Maybe your child has a mental health problem, but you can’t blindly say that it’s only because of social media that he’s affected.
Instead of banning their children, what is essentially necessary for parents to do is train children in life skills and stress management. Parents need to encourage your child to talk. If your child is scared about what’s going on, ask curiously and lovingly about that, talking is one of the most effective ways that can help children share their fears with you.
Use the online content filtering tool
Protecting children on social media can pose many challenges for parents. Although you respect their privacy, give them their space and freedom, you also need to protect them in this world full of harmful things on the Internet, so that they can grow up healthy and happy.
To ensure your child’s online environment is safe and healthier, you should consider using an additional online content filtering tool – considered by many parents as one of the best free parental control software to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet, including:
- Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
This free porn blocker extension can help to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
Do not stop talking and supporting your child
To better protect your child, you should use many support measures, combined with the proper care and attention of parents. That’s why you need to constantly help your child feel more accepted and understood, which will help encourage communication within the family. This will have a more significant impact on the child who may be emotionally disturbed.
Dangerous behaviors including self-harm and suicide often stem from repressed emotions, when children believe that there is no one else in the world who can understand and help them.
That is why when you create conditions for your child to share, they will freely talk about what they are afraid of, what they see, from which you will take timely measures to reassure and comfort children as well as protecting them from more serious psychological events later in life such as anxiety disorders, depression, or anorexia, which can even lead to suicide.
Be wise: Have an objective perception of the problem
Dr. Gangadhar pointed out that despite the negative effects of social media on teenagers, some people use these forums in a healthy way and use it to solve a number of important issues like mental health. For example, Indian-Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh uses her channel || Superwoman || to spread positive messages and spoke about her struggle with depression.
Instagram can completely be an online support community where people comfort each other and give each other motivational advice.
Wise modern parents are always proactive in bringing the best for their children. To better protect your child from all porn sites, for all internet-connected devices your child use, you should pre-order Wifi Device, becoming the first parents to own the solution which 24/7 protects your kids from harmful websites. Best prices are always available for early birds!
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