“Social media are a source of psychological problems”

“Social media are a source of psychological problems”

“The next generation: we’re right in it. That’s how child and adolescent psychiatrist Peter Adriaenssens started his keynote speech at LEADERS MEETING PARIS. One third of the world’s population today is under the age of 15. They will soon be the largest population of parents shaping our future. “Therefore, it’s extremely important to have attention for these children,” says Adriaenssens, “And more specifically their mental health. After all, the experiences in their childhood have an impact on how they raise future generations.” He also mentions how important it is to work together with social media.

There are several aspects that influence a child’s development and future life. This ranges from (changing) family situations, groups of friends, education, student jobs to a world that is constantly changing. “What is important anyway,” says Peter Adriaenssens, “is that we are aware of these several aspects and know what is going on in our children’s world.” In this respect, social media are a threat to education because of their invisible character. 

“Parents do not know what their children experience on social media and what they see. A study shows that 20% of young people surveyed said they had been the victim of social media harassment in one month. These harassments can give rise to a poor self-image, which the young person in question also carries with him in his later life. In this respect, social media are a source of psychological problems,” says Adriaenssens.

According to Adriaenssens, social media also lead to less in-depth discussions. Although this is not only due to social media, but also to education in general. According to the psychiatrist, today’s in-depth conversations are more likely to be avoided… Because youngsters no longer talk in depth and the next generations do not let them talk in depth, both make sure that the importance of mental health is relegated to the background.  

But besides making youngsters talk again, it is also important to do so in a positive way. “Young people today need positive support. We cannot just tell them what kind of monkey country we live in or that they will never have a pension again. We must also give them positive prospects, which they dare to strive for,” says Adriaenssens.

The psychiatrist therefore wants to give a message to the present and the next generation. The current generation has to look after the mental health of the next generation. They can do this by creating a positive framework in which norms and values are offered to young people. For their part, he advises the next generation to love complexity. “Be happy that complexity is there, because this is where democracy and creativity are rooted”, he concludes.



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