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Study: For Kids, Social Media Comes with Significant Emotional Stress

It’s hard to imagine life without social media.

From Facebook to Snapchat, we’re bombarded with likes, updates and pictures from friends. As younger children are signing up for accounts, professionals are warning parents to watch out for the dangers that come along with social media usage.

A new study done by the children’s commissioner for England found kids as young as eight years old feel pressure to consistently stay connected online. It found one of the biggest risks of social media is the emotional stress kids take on while worrying about how many likes and positive comments they’re getting on posts.

Children in their adolescent years are worrying more about their online image and keeping up with friends that their mental health is suffering.

“The most important thing as parents is making sure you are aware what they are doing on social media, that you are having regular conversations about what they are posting, what they are experiencing other people posting and what all those likes and feedback really means and how the impacts their sense of self and their values,” Kaiser Permanente psychologist Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin said.

Kaiser offers parenting skill groups tailored to technology. More information can be found here.