Social Media and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Liberty House is incredibly proud to highlight the work of a local high school senior, Carolina, on a project raising awareness and offering tips on social media and mental health.  If you missed this campaign on our iRespect&Protect accounts on Facebook and Instagram, we’ve collected these posts in today’s blog.

Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Have you ever had a conversation with your child about how they feel when using their cell phones or social media? As adults, we have a point of reference of a time before cell phones and social media ruled the world. However, kids today have never known a world without cell phones and internet access. They are growing up with mobile devices not only in their homes, but also in their classrooms. This is their “normal.”

In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about the connections between social media use and mental health, actions we can take to make social media safer, and how to start having these safety conversations.

Sextortion: Fastest-Growing Online Threat to Children

Sextortion is a difficult and sensitive subject, but we need to talk about it.

Every adult needs to know about this new form of child sexual exploitation that has dramatically increased over recent years.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sextortion is the fastest-growing online threat to children.  In December 2022, a national public safety alert was made to raise awareness about an explosion of cases. 

In today’s blog, we are going to define sextortion, explain how and why youth are targeted, provide tips to help prevent this child sexual exploitation, and offer ways to support youth.

Talking to Youth About Pornography

Sometimes we can avoid talking about sensitive subjects because we fear it might be awkward, difficult, or even stressful.  However, it’s always better to be proactive and have the talk!

Why is it important to talk to your kids about pornography?

Youth are being exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages.

According to a 2022 report from Common Sense Media, 15% of teens surveyed said they first viewed pornography at age 10 or younger.  The average age that youth self-reported being exposed to online pornography was 12 years old.

Back to School: Online Safety

With summer winding down, youth are returning to school and looking forward to the new academic year!  New friends, new classes, new teachers, and new opportunities to learn. While this is an exciting time, it’s also an excellent time to talk about safety. Every school year presents an opportunity to learn from the past and create healthy habits for the future. iRespect&Protect’s interactive tools and resources can help equip parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults with ways we can all help children be safe online and offline.