You look anorexic. You need to lose ten pounds. You should kill yourself. Her teen patients see comments like these on social media all the time, said Katherine Glaser, a licensed clinical social worker at Thriveworks Counseling in Tampa. "People say things that they wouldn't say in person because they get to hide behind a screen," said Glaser, who treats teens and young adults. And many teens spent the pandemic behind screens. Unable to see friends or pursue interests outside of the home, many young people resorted to more time on their phones. That led to an increase in harmful behaviours on social media, experts say, including cyberbullying and being inundated with idealised images of people's lives. Those phenomena could amplify feelings of depression and loneliness already triggered by the pandemic, said University of South Florida associate professor Kelli Burns, who studies social media. Data shows that many teens are dealing with mental health issues. The national average of weekly visits for suspected suicide attempts among people ages 12 to 17 jumped nearly 40% in February and March compared to two years before, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Cyberbullies are most brazen on Snapchat, Glaser said,… Read full this story
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