Studies show that the average student (ages 7-17) spends up to 11 hours a day in front of a screen — TV, computer or cell phone. Social media platforms have become critical for young girls in their effort to stay connected to peers and parents. But, as girls spend more time trying to stay “connected” online, they actually become more disconnected. Recent studies have shown that the dramatic increase in social media use is associated with intensified social anxiety, social isolation and feelings of loneliness. Studies also show a correlation between the amount of time spent on social media and personal life dissatisfaction. Girls create elaborate identities and personas on-screen; but do you ever wonder what is going on behind the screen? As girls experience the turbulent times of childhood and adolescence they often turn to social media to hide their fears, confusion and anxiety from the outside world. As a result, girls are twice as likely as boys to develop an internalizing disorder such as depression or anxiety by mid-adolescence. The better we understand what is hidden behind the screen of “mean girls,” the more effective we become in promoting the healthy development of confident, strong and happy girls.
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Stephanie Jensen, MS, LPC is an award-winning author and international speaker recognized for her insight and understanding of child development, learning and school culture. She combines fifteen years of practice in the fields of education and counseling with research, practical strategies and a little bit of humor to address challenging behaviors and build positive relationships with kids of all ages. She is the author of Thrive in the Hive: Surviving the Girl’s World of Good and Bad Relationship Bee-Haviors and Mom’s Choice Award winning, Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day.