Tags: suicide | teen | social media | technology

Is 'Social Media' Impacting Teen Suicide Rate?

Is 'Social Media' Impacting Teen Suicide Rate?

By Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:00 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If modern culture wasn’t bad enough for parents of teenage girls today, a story from CNN will only serve to add to parents' paranoia.

It reports that new data from the National Center for Health Statistics found, “The suicide rate among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reached a 40 ­year high in 2015” and that’s after the rate doubled between the years of 2007 and 2015.

Tom Simon, author of the report and associate director for science in the division of violence protection at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, observed, “We know that overall in the U.S., we're seeing increases in suicide rates across all age groups. We're not seeing the same kind of increases among the oldest adults, but we are seeing substantial and sustained increases now for the other age groups really going back to 2000.”

It would be natural to wonder what happened in 2007 and kept growing until 2015 that would have such a malign impact on teenaged girls?

I think it’s the toxic stew of what passes for the often-misnamed “social media.” I would include Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and all the rest. Oftentimes what is supposed to build community only winds up enabling the worst impulses of immature and hateful girls.

What’s more, I’m not alone in this belief.

According to CNN, “Dorian A. Lamis, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of 
Medicine/Grady Health System, theorized that use of social media 
and cyber-bullying may affect teenage girls more than boys,
 resulting in rising suicide deaths among older teen girls. 'Some research has suggested that the timing of puberty in girls is 
a contributing factor for the increased suicide rate,' said Lamis, ‘Puberty starts as early as 8 in
 some girls. The psychosocial and physical changes may leave girls ‘vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders
 earlier on in life.’ These known risk factors for suicide may catch up with a girl as she grows older.”

So what are parents to do? I suggest being an involved parent. Preteens don’t need a phone. If you absolutely want your child to have a phone for your convenience, buy a cheap burner phone like ISIS uses with access to the web.

Put your child’s computer in the family room, not their bedroom, and demand all their passwords and inform them you’ll be monitoring internet usage.

Look for early signs of depression, which are easy to find on your web browser. If you can’t intervene find a counselor — I suggest someone recommended by your pastor — and have your daughter meet with them.

But most of all, be involved in your child’s life. Talk to her, spend time with her and do things together.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

If modern culture wasn’t bad enough for parents of teenage girls today, a story from CNN will only serve to add to parents' paranoia.
suicide, teen, social media, technology
Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:00 AM
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